Man Utd takeover ‘tensions’ as Sheikh Jassim holds direct meeting with Glazers

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Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani went directly to the Glazer family to submit his latest offer to buy Manchester United rather than going through the Raine Group due to ‘tensions’ with the latter, according to reports. Sheikh Jassim has been leading a Qatari delegation bidding to take control of United from their current owners over the last few months, although Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposal to purchase a 50 per cent stake in the club is thought to be the frontrunning bid as things stand.

The consortium headed up by Sheikh Jassim submitted a fourth offer on Tuesday which is said to be worth upwards of £5billion and while it still values United at a lower price than Ratcliffe, the entirety of the fee would be paid immediately. The Qatari banker is thought to have gone straight to the Glazer family to propose the bid as opposed to the Raine Group, with tensions having arisen between the two parties in recent weeks, according to The Athletic.

It is claimed that some members of the Raine Group, who have been appointed by the Glazers to oversee the bidding process, are surprised that Sheikh Jassim did not contact them prior to submitting his latest offer to buy 100 per cent of United. Although the man himself would prefer to stay out of the public eye for now, his lack of dialogue is still regarded as ‘notable’ by those involved.

Sheikh Jassim previously chose not to attend a tour of Old Trafford and Carrington, instead opting to send a number of his delegates including Shahzad Shahbaz, president of the Nine Two Foundation that would be the vehicle for his takeover, and Fady Bakhos, his most senior personal advisor. Ratcliffe, however, went to his own meeting in person and spoke directly with United chiefs whilst taking a look around the club’s facilities alongside Ineos cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford.

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The level of privacy involved in Sheikh Jassim’s bid is said to have irked the Raine Group as part of a wider lack of harmony between the Qatari group and the organisation in charge of the process. Sheikh Jassim and his associates reportedly expressed doubts over whether the Glazers actually wanted a full sale before tabling their first proposal, while there have since been further accusations from both sides over whether or not things have been handled in the correct manner.

It remains to be seen whether the apparent tensions between Sheikh Jassim and the Raine Group will risk wrecking the former’s hopes of leading a full-scale takeover at Old Trafford over the coming weeks, although he is still believed to be determined to win the bidding race ahead of Ratcliffe in spite of the current situation.

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Ratcliffe is thought to be closer to securing a deal with the Glazers and the Raine Group than Sheikh Jassim is as it stands, but football finance expert Kieran Maguire recently insisted that a winning Qatari bid cannot yet be ruled out despite seeing the balance fall in Ratcliffe’s favour in the last few days.

When quizzed on whether Ratcliffe’s plan to let the Glazers retain a 20 per cent stake in the club will swing proceedings his way, Maguire told Football Insider: “I don’t think it will necessarily mean that Ratcliffe’s bid is the one that will be accepted. The Glazers are looking for a bigger price and if Sheikh Jassim’s bid is worth more per share then you can see the rest of the Glazer siblings pushing to accept that offer instead.”

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