Soccer

PSG’s Qatar owners make decision on ditching Ligue 1 club for Man Utd

Cristiano Ronaldo's Man Utd contract terminated

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Manchester United are set to go under auction in the coming months after current owners, the Glazer family, announced their interest in a partial or full sale on Tuesday. But widespread jubilance across the fanbase, with the end of an unpopular 17-year regime in sight, has been simmered by concerns of United becoming a state-funded club.

Just hours after the Red Devils announced Cristiano Ronaldo had left the club via mutual consent, the Glazers dwarfed that news by welcoming investment with the view of surrendering control altogether at Old Trafford. The appointment of broker Raine Group, who ensured Chelsea’s sale went through last month, indicated as much.

It’s attracted fears that Middle Eastern suitors could enter the frame and diminish the morale high-ground United supporters have held over bitter rivals Manchester City since their Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008. However, Qatari investors won’t be entering the race.

According to the Telegraph, Qatar Sports Investments have categorically squashed any talk of interest in buying United from the Glazer family. They have insisted their long-term focus remains on French giants Paris Saint-Germain, now joining Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia as unlikely successors.

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But the prospect of a state-funded project inheriting United is still alive, with the Glazers’ surprise announcement sounding alarm bells in Dubai. There is a sense that the Investment Corporation of Dubai, part of the sovereign infrastructure of the state, would be interested in purchasing the 20-time England champions.

Another known suitor is Oldham-born billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The Telegraph report adds that the United fan, one of Britain’s richest men, will submit a bid for the club months after first declaring his interest. The Ineos owner is wary of the asking price, though, with any deal likely to demand over £5billion.

Ratcliffe failed with a bid to buy Chelsea due to making an official approach too late after waiting for the Raine Group to lower the valuation. But he is back in the United fold after his company had previously claimed they were focusing on their future at the helm of OGC Nice, and he will be a popular candidate among supporters.

While there have been some suggestions that the Glazers want a quick sale, the process is likely to be drawn out, given the magnitude of the prize at stake. And while Qatar look to be out of the running, the possibility of another Gulf state blasting their competitors out of the water can’t be ruled out.

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