Another eventful week in the Manchester United takeover process is ending.
A delegation representing Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s Nine Two Foundation was at Old Trafford on Thursday for face-to-face discussions with the United hierarchy, including chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough. Sir Jim Ratcliffe then arrived alongside other INEOS representatives on Friday for similar meetings in the second stage of the sale process.
The expectation is that follow-up offers from both parties could come as soon as next week, which would be the first formal bids since those initial indicative proposals. Here are the latest United takeover headlines.
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Sheikh Jassim's advisers have reportedly had their doubts about the Glazer family's commitment to selling the club reduced after meeting the United hierarchy on Thursday, according to the Guardian.
They report that 'there is a view that the Americans are serious about completing a sale before the start of the summer transfer window'. The exact date that the transfer window will reopen is still not official, but last year it opened on June 10.
It is also reported that there is 'no guarantee' that a second bid by Sheikh Jassim's Nine Two Foundation will represent an increase on the initial offer. That first proposal was valued at a minimum of £4 billion.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS Group and Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation are both reportedly in agreement that Erik ten Hag is the right manager for the club and will remain in position should either complete a takeover, according to the Mirror.
Changes of ownership are often followed by a swift change of management, for example, Thomas Tuchel was sacked just three months after Todd Boehly's Clearlake Capital-backed takeover of Chelsea was completed. It isn't always the case, though, as the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, has demonstrated with Eddie Howe at Newcastle United.
United are reported to have already indicated they want to reward Ten Hag for his achievements so far this taking over in the summer, with the blessing of Ratcliffe, who met the manager during his visit to the club’s Carrington training ground on Friday, and Sheikh Jassim.
Sheikh Jassim's stance on United has reportedly softened, and the Qatari banker is now willing to overpay to complete a takeover of the club, according to Sky Sports.
It has previously been made clear there was a determination that the Nine Two Foundation would not repeat what Chelsea's new owners did in overspending when acquiring the Premier League club. Thursday's visit to Old Trafford by Qatari representatives appears to have precipitated this apparent change of approach.
These reports from their chief news reporter Kaveh Solhekol suggests this could see an offer closer to the Glazers' £6 billion asking price. New bids are expected from both Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe next week.