It’s officially deadline day for Manchester United’s prospective bidders and with multiple parties looking to take over the massive sporting franchise, it’s going to be an interesting few days ahead.
With current owners, the Glazer Family, valuing the club between at least £6-8 billion and now said to be looking for a full sale of the business as opposed to selling partial shares or welcoming new investors, it’ll simply be case a who puts forward the biggest offer.
The deadline for United‘s bidders is 10pm tonight. Here are the candidates said to be seriously considering a takeover.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Whoever is leading the race to take over the club is anyone’s guess but it’s fairly common knowledge that one of United’s longest-running suitors is British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and co-owner of INEOS — the chemical company who also owns French club OGC Nice.
Ratcliffe is a lifelong Red born in Failsworth who as well as being one of the richest men in Britain also already happens to own a sporting brand in Team Sky cycling, which he bought back in 2019, not mention owning shares in Mercedes F1. If anything, he is clearly a sporting man, at the very least.
The 70-year-old has enlisted a number of banks including Goldman Sachs to help fund his bid and while many were wary his need for additional financing resembled the leveraged buyout that saw the Glazers take control back in 2005, he is said to have assured he will not load United with any more debt.
Ratcliffe’s biggest rival is undoubtedly the Qatari consortium that is said to be heavily interested in buying Manchester United. Given the level of wealth behind those involved, significantly dwarfing the majority of other financial players, their package is widely considered the strongest of United’s bidders.
Although the amount of money clearly won’t be an issue (try a sovereign wealth fund of £368bn), its source and connection to the state looks to be the biggest sticking point.
It has been stated that Qatar Sports Investments, a.k.a. PSG’s billionaire owners, are not involved in the bid but the financing will have to be fully vetted. Regardless, UEFA are being urged to block the move to prevent further ‘sportswashing’ and the Emir of Qatar gaining unprecedented levels of power in football.
Despite having only recently acquired Newcastle United through the Public Investment Fund (the same sovereign wealth model Qatar are hoping to deploy), it has been reported that a rival bid from elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf could also challenge Qatar’s offer.
The nation were confirmed to have entered the race by The Telegraph early on Friday, literally hours before the deadline, having previously been rumoured to be in the market for Chelsea before Todd Boehly’s buyout too.
Saudi Arabia obviously share the same oil-based money origins as their Middle-Eastern neighbours and the national government has already said it would back bids from their private sector, but it would still present an odd prospect to see them invest in a direct rival so early into their Newcastle project.
The US — maybe even Elon Musk?
Perhaps the most uncertain prospects are located in the US, with various groups said to have expressed interest in trying to buy the club, though little detail is still known even at this advanced stage.
However, one very wealthy individual (i.e. the richest man in the world) is rumoured to be considering a bid in some capacity: Elon Musk. Yep.
Featured Image — Wikimedia Commons/Jason Wong (via Lookout Point)
Andy Cole makes the case for Ivan Toney as a January transfer target for Manchester United
Manchester United legend Andy Cole has suggested that Manchester United should consider making sidelined striker Ivan Toney their next transfer target in the January window as they look to strengthen their side.
The Brentford striker is currently serving an eight-month ban following a total of 232 breaches of FA rules for gambling offences and hasn’t played since May but is, nevertheless, still considered one of the best centre-forwards in the Premier League and earned his first England call-up back in March.
Following an Athletic report which claimed an unnamed football agent has now confirmed Toney is “destined” to leave the West London club once he returns to the fold, the former Man United player and prolific number nine has said he believes Toney would be a good addition.
In an interview with Betfred, the 51-year-old said of Toney, “I like him. If Manchester United did move to sign Ivan, then he’s only going to make them a little bit better than they find themselves at this exact moment.”
“He’s been a key player for Brentford and he’s scored plenty of goals for them in the Premier League”, says Cole; “if the opportunity came up, then why shouldn’t Manchester United consider signing him?”
While he did go on to say that the prospect depends on what the club’s recruitment plan is going forward, he insisted that given Toney’s experience at the top level now and that he’s commonly considered in his ‘prime’ years now, he could add more goal threat.
Cole even went on to suggest that Toney could form a partnership up top for United, adding, “he could even help Rasmus Højlund come through.” Højlund scored his first goal on his Champions League debut for the club in their 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Although he acknowledged that it might be a step up for the forward, it goes without saying that Erik ten Hag‘s team are in a difficult period right so far this season, not to mention with absences and injuries piling up, and he also compared the potential challenge to his own move up the football pyramid.
“When I moved from Bristol City to Newcastle, did people believe I could make the step up? I don’t think they did, but I was able to. When I moved from Newcastle to Man United, did people believe I could make the step up? I don’t think so but I proved that I could, so it’s all about giving players the opportunity…”
“You’re never going to know whether they’re capable or not until they’re given the opportunity to show that they can do it.” Cole also argued that regardless of his well-publicised off-field issues with betting, like with United’s other ongoing dramas at present, they “shouldn’t have an impact on the players”.
Citing Brighton’s Evan Ferguson as another “really good player” that many clubs will be interested in come January and next summer, he said that the likelihood of him signing him is less favourable, noting that “if [he’s] scoring hat-tricks in the Premier League, then he’s already worth around £100 million now by that comparison.”
When speaking in his tell-all podcast interview back in August, Toney did reveal that he’s been a Liverpool fan all his life but that he “like[s] watching Arsenal and how they play and kind of how passionate the fans are”.
The Gunners have already been linked with a possible £50 million sweep for his signature but we’ve seen plenty of targets snapped up by rival clubs already this season. Would you take Ivan Toney at Old Trafford, United fans?
Featured Image — Ivan Toney/Andy Cole (via Instagram)
Sale Sharks Academy raise over £17,000 for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital after completing Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon
Sale Sharks’ Academy team have managed to raise over £17,000 for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital after completing the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon earlier this year.
The inaugural Leeds Marathon, named after former rugby league icon and motor neurone disease campaigner Rob Burrow, took place back in May with more than 12,000 people taking part and over £4 million raised in charitable donations for various worthy causes. Immense.
While MND was obviously a key focus of the event after Burrow was diagnosed with the condition in December 2019, those joining in could choose to fundraise for any organisation and, in the instance of the Sale Sharks, they chose something close to home and their hearts.
Running the 26.2 miles in aid of the RMCH, the largest children’s hospital in the UK, Sharks Academy manager Fergus Mulchrone and six members of his backroom staff raised a whopping total of £17,048.
With help from Peninsula, who committed to matching the amount raised by Mulchrone and his coaches, the team saw their total of £7,303 raised through their JustGiving page alone, along with further donations amassed in the build-up and after the event, doubled by the organisation.
Teaming up with the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Peninsula agreed to double the total donations figure provided the Sharks hit their target; that’s exactly what they did and then some.
Following their impressive feat, the hospital tweeted: “Congratulations to Sale Sharks who ran the Leeds Marathon AND hit their £5,000 fundraising target. They’re the first to raise the £5K eligible for match-funding by Peninsula in our ‘Making a Difference…Together’ scheme.”
The initiative, which is set to run throughout the entirety of 2023, saw the HR, health and safety firm set aside £100,000 to encourage businesses to do their bit and help raise money for the hospital.