In Man Utd News, improved bids were made for Manchester United on Wednesday night by the Qatar-based group and Sir Jim Ratcliffe – but there remain concerns that the Glazer family may not sell.
As expected, offers of around £5billion – which would both represent a world record fee for a sports club – dropped ahead of the 9pm soft deadline set by the US bank handling the process.
Both groups, however, believe they are the only parties interested in buying the club rather than taking a partial stake, which is also on the table.
That perceived lack of competition from elsewhere will do little to drive up the price to a level at which the Glazers would be prepared to let the Premier League giants go.
Those involved in the Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani bid and that of Ratcliffe’s Ineos firm will not pay a figure what they feel would be over the odds.
It is also understood that there remains some distance between their bids and what the Glazers had initially wanted.
The current record, the £3.71bn paid for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, would be comfortably eclipsed by both offers, but United’s current owners are thought to be seeking more than £6bn.
Man Utd News: But Glazers are still hesitant to sell:
In Man Utd news, also a number of factors may well prevent that from becoming a reality. An Old Trafford desperately in need of investment would land the buyer with another bill of anywhere from £1bn to £2bn and beyond.
The club’s Carrington training base is also in need of a costly upgrade.
Then there is the prospect of what would be a summer transfer market in which heavy investment in Erik ten Hag’s third-placed squad – 19 points adrift of leaders Arsenal – would be needed.
The Glazers also have offers of partial investment. Those would provide the funds needed for upgrades.
However, the prospect of anything other than a full sale would be likely to cause outrage among sections of United’s support.
Following the European Super League debacle, United’s match with Liverpool was abandoned amid protests from supporters.
The prospect of such toxicity – and the potential damage that may cause to the brand should the Glazers not depart – may well be a consideration.
Raine, the group running the process, are open to receiving bids until the end of the week and are expected to respond to those who submitted bids over the next seven days.
At that stage a final round of bidding may be activated, or the Americans could choose to enter into an exclusivity period with a chosen group. At that point full access to financials would be provided for one final round of negotiations.
Sportsmail understands that Sheikh Jassim remains fully engaged and confident that his bid represents the best outcome for the club, its fans and the community.
Fans have already brought banners to Old Trafford calling for a full sale and chants of ‘We want Glazers out’ are commonplace at matches.