It is an indubitable fact that 17 years into the Glazer era of one of England’s best football clubs, Manchester United‘s formidability on the domestic as well as international stage, has dwindled, to say the least.
The Red Devils are only reminiscent of the legendary club that scored 12 Premier League trophies, most of them under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson.
That said, the present squad, heralded by Erik Ten Hag seems to have found some momentum in the 2023 fixtures, after a lot of controversy around star-signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
The fans at Old Trafford have always been vocally opposed to the Glazer family owning United, primarily because of their business strategy surrounding the club that led to about GBP 525 million in debt, along with consistently poor performances on the pitch and a tight reign over every manager that they seemed to hire for the team.
In fact, Jose Mourinho, in an interview said that bringing the club to the 2nd position in the Premier League table is one of his greatest achievements despite him having won numerous trophies with various clubs.
As such, the Glazers, in November 2022, announced that they were exploring strategic alternatives to bring the club back to its former glory and that included a potential sale to interested buyers.
At this time, two behemoth companies had proclaimed their interest in taking over the ownership of the Red Devils – Amazon and Apple.
However, these were only statements without any concrete information on whether the companies were actively pursuing the deal.
In this backdrop, the richest man in Britain with a net worth of over $15 billion, and also a childhood follower of the Red Devils had proclaimed his interest to buy the club, if it was up for sale, in August 2022, even before the Glazers had officially declared their desire to exit the ownership of Manchester United.
Per The Times, as of 17th January 2023, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s firm INEOS has formally initiated its bid to take over Manchester United. Thus becoming the first person to publicly declare their interest in buying the club.
Notably, the firm had also pursued a deal for Chelsea in 2022, when the Blues were on the market to be sold. However, with a very late bid that only matched the highest bid at the time, INEOS failed to take over Stamford Bridge.
While there is some anxiety from Ratcliffe’s Ligue 1 club, Nice, regarding the rules of ownership of clubs competing in the Champions League, that is a matter for future deliberation given that Nice is only aiming for the Europa League as of now.
One thing remains crystal clear regarding the situation at Old Trafford and that is the urgent requirement of injection of capital into developing the infrastructure of the club and potentially signing fresh talent across the globe.
Whether Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s buyout of the Red Devils will bring about a renewed vigour that falls in line with Ten Hag’s vision for the club, and hopefully bring Manchester United back to the top of the table, is only a question that can be answered in due course of time.
All said and done, Manchester United’s future can only be speculated upon, until such time that the Glazers finalise a deal with either INEOS, Apple, or Amazon.
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