Manchester United is England’s most popular and successful club. Throughout their history, they have accumulated a massive amount of honours, awards, and trophies. And on top of that, some of the best players in history have worn the Manchester United jersey.
The Old Trafford’s team have won a record of 20 League titles, 12 Football Association Cups, and five League Cups, as well as 21 Community Shields, another record. Their international career is just as top notch, if not more so.
And precisely due to this impressive track record, their fans are all the more disappointed that the team is not doing so hot this season. They are by no means doing a poor job. The Red Devils are ranked fifth in the current season. If it were any other club, this would be an impressive feat. However, for Manchester United, who have historically been the top favorites of UK-based sportsbooks, the number 5 ranking might be a disappointment.
What is going on with Manchester United?
In 2022, the English club has been experiencing some difficulties. The most prolific and well-known seems to be their ongoing beef with Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s claim to fame came in the early 2000s, when he signed with Manchester United. The club propelled the Portuguese player to the very top of the world. Of course, his genuine and undisputed skill was a huge factor in United’s massive success during that time as well.
So, fans of both United and Ronaldo were ecstatic to hear that their hero would return to the Red Devils in 2021/22. Sadly, their excitement would soon turn sour. While Ronaldo did manage a good showing during the 2021/22 season, he also managed to sour his relationship with team manager, Erik ten Hag. Who the fault lies with, we can’t say. However, we do know that recently, Ronaldo has departed from Manchester United.
Of course, the team’s problems can’t all be laid at the feet of Ronaldo. The club has been criticised for their lack of long-term strategy, their overall management, and the club’s owners have gotten quite a tongue-lashing from fans as well. Well, for those who are not happy with the direction the club has taken, we have some good news. Manchester United might be getting sold soon.
Who is interested in the club?
With the end of the World Cup and the Christmas holidays, the Premier League has finally returned. Fans, naturally, are absolutely stoked. And with the return of the league, come some rather exciting news. There are quite a few candidates interested in purchasing England’s most prominent football club. So, let us take a look at the people interested in acquiring the Red Devils.
The club is, for now at least, owned by the Glazer family, an American billionaire family. However, in late November, they made the announcement that they are putting the team on the market. If you aren’t familiar, Malcolm Glazer attained ownership of the club between 2003 and 2005, by buying share after share. Upon his passing in 2014, ownership was relegated to his children.
The purchase of United by Glazer was widely protested by fans, and their concerns and criticisms continue to this day. So, it might be that many of them are quite happy to hear that the family is selling the club. So, the question is, who is interested in purchasing. More importantly, exactly who can afford to buy it?
As soon as the football club was put on sale, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe expressed interest in acquiring the Red Devils. Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe graduated from the University of Birningham and is quite an accomplished businessman and chemical engineer. A life-long football fan, Mr. Ratcliffe has purchased sports clubs previously. In 2017, he became the owner of Lausanne-Sport, a football club from Switzerland, that competes in the Swiss Super League.
Earlier this year, Mr. Ratcliffe tried his hand at purchasing another of England’s top tier clubs, Chelsea. Though he offered £4 billion for the club, his offer was rejected. Recently, he has expressed interest in acquiring the Red Devils. Whether he can manage to get his hands on it or not remains to be seen. Especially considering he isn’t the only one eyeing the club.
Another Jim on our list, who has expressed interest in purchasing Manchester United is Baron O’Neill of Gatley. A renowned economist and investor, Lord James O’Neill teaches Economics at the University of Manchester, and is head of the Red Knights investment group. Like Sir Ratcliffe, Lord O’Neill is a lifelong fan of football, who has expressed the desire to purchase United.
In 2010, Lord O’Neill made an attempt at purchasing Manchester United to little success. When asked about it, he said that it is his belief that the club’s owners should be aware of what they are purchasing and what they are getting into. So, fans are hopeful that a lifelong football fan like Mr. O’Neill will do a better job than the Glazers.
Last but not least, quite a few United States investors have their eyes on the club. Football (or soccer) is growing in popularity in the US. Recently, it has even taken over hockey as the fourth most popular sport. So, U.S.-based investors are now becoming a lot more interested in how the sport works from a financial point of view. While many might be disappointed, a likely outcome is that Manchester United will be purchased by various US investors.
Troubles with selling Manchester United
There might be some problems that the Glazers will face with selling United. One of the most obvious examples here is that fellow Premier League clubs, Chelsea and Newcastle United, were recently acquired by Saudi Arabia. This fact significantly lowers the pool of possible buyers that might be interested.
Another problem is the fact that Liverpool went on sale earlier in the year. Considering Liverpool’s track record, many believe that they pose a much more attractive investment than Manchester United. Still, the Red Devils are worth around £4 billion, so any investor who can afford them might want to hop on the train.