Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly close to securing a 25 per cent share in Manchester United in a deal believed to be worth around £1.3bn.
The INEOS billionaire is a lifelong United fan and has been widely reported as holding a long-term interest in a takeover at Old Trafford ever since the Glazers confirmed they were exploring other options for the club.
Although it was initially believed Ratcliffe was keen for a full takeover, the deal is now said to be for just a 25 per cent share in the club. However, Ratcliffe’s presence could be quickly felt as he reportedly seeks to implement a new setup behind the scenes.
Sky Sports have reported the 71-year-old businessman is proposing to install a three-man ‘football committee’ within the Old Trafford hierarchy. Under the proposed restructure, Ratcliffe will sit alongside current executive co-chairman Joel Glazer and INEOS director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford, with all three having a major say over developments at the club.
What has Erik ten Hag said about the proposed deal?
Asked about the situation on Friday, United boss Ten Hag told a press conference: “I’m not involved in this. Others in the club are dealing with this.
“I am focusing on my team, I’m focusing on the coming block (of games), and I am focusing on the most important priority, the next game - it’s all about that.”
A surprise investor?
There has been a recent spate of investors from the world of sport after golf stars Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas bought into the 49ers Enterprises ahead of their takeover of Leeds United earlier this summer.
Last week brought confirmation Anthony Joshua, Trent Alexander-Arnold, NFL star Patrick Mahomes and lifelong Red Devils supporter Rory McIlroy had all invested in Formula 1 team, Alpine as part of the Otro Capital.
McIlroy has revealed he was offered an opportunity to be part of the group that invested in Leeds earlier this year - but his loyalty to the 13-time Premier League champions means investing in the Red Devils would be the only venture into football he would consider.
He told BBC Sport: “Sports stars are becoming more savvy and really trying to use their money in the right way.
“They asked me if I wanted to come on board (with the Leeds investment) and I was like, as a Man Utd fan, can’t go anywhere near that. If another opportunity comes my way (with Manchester United) I will definitely look at it. To be able to own even a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the club you grew up cheering on would be very cool.”
The next step for Sheikh Jassim
Sheikh Jassim bin Al Thani was repeatedly said to be one of the frontrunners to end the Glazers’ reign at Old Trafford over the last year - but frustration over delays to a takeover deal reportedly led to his decision to withdraw from the race earlier this month.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein is unsure what could lie next for the Qatar-based businessman and revealed little is known over this genuine intentions for United over the last year.
He told the FIVE podcast: “It would definitely be nice to hear from Sheikh Jassim or somebody from their camp, on the record, to understand what really happened at Man United and where they may or may not go next. Did they just launch this vehicle to buy into Man United because he was said to be an avid supporter of the club? Or do they have grand ambitions to go elsewhere?
“From people I speak to around the industry, they do not expect that to be Tottenham, so unless things change and they do change, I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on that one. People have said he should pivot to Liverpool and rub ultimate salts in the wounds of Man United fans who wanted him in. I’ve got no knowledge of him going anywhere else.”