Are the Glazers staying as Manchester United owners? Latest on sale and takeover talks

The Manchester United ownership saga could take a decisive turn as the Glazer family prepare to make a final decision over their future in charge at Old Trafford.

Rival offers from Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and the UK’s second-richest person, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, have been placed before the Glazers as they look to potentially secure a £7 billion ($8.8bn) deal to sell United.

United fan group The 1958 have restated their firm objection to the Glazers presence at the club and a protest took place ahead of their Premier League season opener against Wolves on August 14.

On October 14, multiple reports claimed Sheikh Jassim had withdrawn from the process.

Transfer news expert Fabrizio Romano claimed that the final bid had been worth almost double the $3.5 billion market valuation of the club, and said the Sheikh had planned an extra $1.5bn of investment. Sky News was among the outlets to announce that they also understood the offer had been withdrawn.

MORE: Will Man United win the Premier League? Predictions, betting odds for 2023/24 season

Are the Glazers staying at Man United?

Despite talks with both Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim Ratcliffe and substantial bids from both parties, the Glazers are keeping fans in the dark on their next move.

Summer rumours over a possible U-turn have gathered pace, with United fans reminded of the lack of clarity from the initial statement that claimed “There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company.”

Following the news of Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal, on October 15 Mail Online reported that Ratcliffe was poised to complete a $1.57bn investment for 25% of the club. This would include handing control of football operations to Ratcliffe’s group and be viewed as the first step in a potential staged buyout.

How much did the Glazers buy Man United for?

The Glazers initial outlay to buy up United shares from 2003 to 2005 is unconfirmed but the final figure to purchase the club is reportedly in the region of £800 million ($1.04 billion).

However, the structure and financing of the purchase has caused constant discontent from United fans towards the owners.

The majority of the capital used to buy United was raised by loans, with Glazer balancing multi-million-pound borrowing against United’s assets, and their projected profitability within a set timeframe.

This has opened up a never-ending game of cat and mouse between the Glazers and their lending banks and investors, with interest payments rocketing, and United unable to bring themselves back into positive equity.

Figures on exactly how much debt the Glazers have levered on United, and how much it has increased, vary notably, with estimates ranging from £474m ($619m to £520m ($679m), plus annual interest payments of £65m ($84m).

How many trophies have Man United won under the Glazers?

With Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, United remained a major Premier League force, with five titles in eight seasons and a Champions League win in 2008.

However, the post-Ferguson era signalled a major drop in United’s successful dominance, with four major trophies in nine seasons, since his retirement.

Man United’s performance under the Glazers

Season Manager Most Expensive Transfer Premier League Finish Major Trophies Won
2005/06 Sir Alex Ferguson Nemanja Vidic
£9.5m ($12.4m)
2nd EFL Cup
2006/07 Sir Alex Ferguson Michael Carrick
£24.5m ($32m)
1st Premier League
2007/08 Sir Alex Ferguson Anderson
£28.3m ($36.9m)
1st Premier League
Champions League
2008/09 Sir Alex Ferguson Dimitar Berbatov
£34.2m ($44.6m)
1st Premier League
FIFA Club World Cup
2009/10 Sir Alex Ferguson Antonio Valencia
£16.9m ($22m)
2nd EFL Cup
2010/11 Sir Alex Ferguson Bebe
£7.9m ($10.3m)
1st Premier League
2011/12 Sir Alex Ferguson David de Gea
£22.5m ($29.3m)
2nd N/A
2012/13 Sir Alex Ferguson Robin van Persie
£26.7m ($34.8m)
1st Premier League
2013/14 David Moyes
Ryan Giggs
Juan Mata
£40m ($52m)
7th N/A
2014/15 Louis Van Gaal Angel Di Maria
£67.5m ($88m)
4th N/A
2015/16 Louis Van Gaal Anthony Martial
£54m ($70.5m)
5th FA Cup
2016/17 Jose Mourinho Paul Pogba
£94.5m ($123m)
6th EFL Cup
Europa League
2017/18 Jose Mourinho Romelu Lukaku
£76.2m ($99.5m)
2nd N/A
2018/19 Jose Mourinho
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
£53.1m ($69.3m)
6th N/A
2019/20 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Harry Maguire
£78.3m ($102m)
3rd N/A
2020/21 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Donny van de Beek
£35.1m ($45.8m)
2nd N/A
2021/22 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ralf Rangnick
Jadon Sancho
£76.5m ($99.9m)
6th N/A
2022/23 Erik ten Hag Antony £82.2m/$104m 3rd EFL Cup

Why do Man United fans want the Glazers to leave?

United fan opposition to the Glazers stretches back to their original takeover with supporter groups publicly voicing disagreement over the deal.

Some fans tried to block the sale from happening – similar to their revolt against Rupert Murdoch’s bid in the early 1990s – with phoenix groups attempting to buy smaller blocks of shares to frustrate the Glazers’ move.

The eventual sale caused a split within United fans, with those completely opposed to it, forming the breakaway club of FC United of Manchester, based in the non-league pyramid, as concerns of debt association persisted.

Issues over loading more debt on to United is the primary concern for most fans with United virtually debt-free prior to the arrival of the Glazers.

Some sections of the support base are also unhappy at a perceived detachment of the Glazers from the practicalities of running a Premier League club due to their lack of visibility at games.

The attempted European Super League move was viewed as a deal-breaker by the majority of supporters however, with the ownership’s disregard for fans pushing thousands of them to protest, and the Glazers shortly after revealing their intention to sell.

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