The Glazers have put Manchester United up for sale, seeking a high price for the Premier League team, with a wealthy investor potentially a possibility.
The Glazers are still undecided about selling Manchester United if a suitor falls short of their £5 billion estimate.
After nearly two decades of American ownership, which has been severely criticized for a lack of investment and involvement, the Premier League club could be sold. The Raine Group, a New York-based investment bank, is looking into a possible sale, but the Glazers are leaving their options open.
A change of ownership at Old Trafford may see the Red Devils break the record price for a sporting team, which is presently set at £3.8 billion for the purchase of the NFL team Denver Broncos last year. The Times understands that people at the top of the club are undecided about whether or not to sell if their asking price is not met.
Potential bidders, including Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, are skeptical of the Glazers’ desire to sell the club. According to ESPN, they may be searching for a significant investment to take a part in the club rather than selling it outright.
There is now a soft deadline of February 17 for any bidders to register their interest, with Qatari and Saudi Arabian buyers rumored to be interested. Ratcliffe is the only verified bidder in the process right now.
United’s co-chairmen, Joel and Avram Glazer, who has owned the club since 2005, are aware that significant money is required to invest in Old Trafford and the Carrington training complex, both of which are seen as second-rate in the modern game due to years of neglect.
Such funding may come from a wealthy investor who would contribute to the club’s infrastructure improvement. United also owes £300 million in transfer fees and has debts in excess of £500 million. All of this indicates that the Glazers may struggle to compete financially with the European elite unless they find assistance.
Chelsea, a Premier League competitor, was sold for £2.5 billion in the summer, with a further £1.75 billion promised for future investment as they, too, became American-owned. United is seeking significantly more than that, although many think that valuation to be overly expensive.
After purchasing the club, any buyer would have to throw millions, if not billions, of dollars into it. That makes the Glazers’ asking price difficult to meet in the present market and given United’s current state on and off the field.
Gary Neville told Sky Sports of any possible sale: “Aside from the Glazers’ departure, I don’t believe United can afford to be with another investment fund where they demand a return on their money. That is what concerns me about private equity investing in football. People are still searching for a return on their investment and a return on their money. Manchester United requires a debt-free football club with someone prepared to invest money in it.”