Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest people, has said he wants to buy Manchester United from the club’s beleaguered owners, the Glazer family.
Ratcliffe, who hails from Greater Manchester, had previously wanted to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, but has now turned his attention to United.
“If the club is up for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,” a Ratcliffe spokesperson told the Times. “If such a thing were possible, we would like to talk with a view to long-term ownership.”
The Glazers have faced animosity since Malcolm bought Glazer United in 2005 via a leveraged financial model, which still left the club in debt of around £500million 17 years later.
Erik ten Hag’s team is at the bottom of the Premier League after losing the first two games of the new season. The manager hopes to bolster the squad this summer, but the club has had a string of failed bids for players. An aging Old Trafford will also require an upgrade or full replacement. All of this has sparked new protests against the Glazers from disgruntled fans.
“This is not about the money that has been spent or has not been spent,” Ratcliffe’s spokesman said. “Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”
The 69-year-old is the majority shareholder and chief executive of Ineos, with the chemicals group already owning Nice in France’s Ligue 1.
A Bloomberg report claimed the Glazers are open to selling a minority stake in United, but when approached by The Guardian on Wednesday night, the club declined to comment.