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The frontrunners to buy Manchester United

The English Premier League side has had an eventful past few weeks that included a very public divorce from Cristiano Ronaldo. So, who are the parties bidding for the Red Devils?

November 25, 2022 / 02:49 PM IST

Despite the entire footballing world pausing for the FIFA World Cup, Manchester United is still drawing headlines over the past few weeks. But that isn't new to what is possibly the most iconic and recognisable football club in the whole world.

Manchester United has been in the news over the past few weeks, what with its most-iconic player publicly putting the club on blast, which led to a very public divorce. But things move fast in the world of United as it is now in the spotlight regarding its ownership. The Glazers family from the US have put the club on sale for potential new buyers as part of an initiative to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance the club's growth".

In plain speak, Joel Glazer and Avram Glazer, the current executive co-chairmen and directors, have put the club for sale and there is no shortage of potential new buyers. According to various reports, this sale could entail the Glazer brothers anywhere between GBP 5 and 8 billion.

So, who are the potential new owners of Manchester United?

1) Apple

Social media went into meltdown when the US tech giant was rumoured to be interested in taking over Manchester United. Apple is reportedly currently worth USD 2.3 trillion and earned USD 394.3 billion for the financial year 2022, according to a press release on the company website.

So, it won't be a struggle for the Cupertino-based tech giant to snap up the Red Devils. Should Apple go through with the sale, Manchester United could become the richest football club in the world by some distance.

However, there have been a few contrarian reports that deny Apple's interest in buying the English club.

2) Jim Ratcliffe

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has long eyed a takeover from the Glazers and after the recent "up for sale" announcement from the club, the 70-year-old is amongst the frontrunners for being the new owner. The Manchester-born Ratcliffe, the owner of petrochemicals group Ineos, already runs a football club, OGC Nice in Ligue 1, and is reportedly seeking a deal under GBP 5 billion according to The Independent.

However, with the Glazers looking for a deal in excess of that figure it remains to be seen whether a deal could be made between the two parties.

3) David Beckham

Former Manchester United player David Beckham is no stranger to sports ownership. He is one of the principal owners of Inter Miami in the MLS and is also a part-owner of Salford United along with his former Manchester United teammates.

While the 47-year-old can't pull off the sale on his own, he could be part of a consortium that bids for the keys to Old Trafford. Beckham's history with the club and his being a football icon might clinch the deal for this investor group.

4) Amancio Ortega

The 86-year-old billionaire owner of the fashion brand Zara is also interested in the keys to Old Trafford. Ortega, who is reportedly worth USD 61.3 billion, has never ventured into the sporting world.

He has primarily invested in real estate in some of the biggest cities in the world including Madrid, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Miami, and New York.

5) Saudi Arabia

The BBC has reported that Saudi Arabia's sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said the country's government would "definitely support" private-sector Saudi bids for Manchester United and Liverpool.

He was quoted by the BBC as saying: "...there is a lot of interest and appetite and there's a lot of passion about football.

"We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in because we know that's going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.

"But if there's an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not?"
Amrit Ramakrishnan
first published: Nov 25, 2022 01:32 pm