As the takeover process of Manchester United rumbles on, it would be premature for fans to say goodbye to the Glazer family, who may well stay in charge of the club and refuse to sell.
This is according to The Athletic, who investigated a number of “soft signals” that point to an increased likelihood of the American family retaining control at Old Trafford.
So far, only two public bidders have confirmed the submission of their proposals to buy the club from the Glazer family – Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Athletic says that there are factions among the Glazer siblings regarding the sale of United. Joel and Avram Glazer are extremely reluctant to sell up, while their brothers and sisters no longer want the attention of owning a club the size of United.
The likes of Kevin, Bryan, Edward and Darcie Glazer wish to cash in on the enormous profit they are poised to make if the Red Devils are sold.
Avram Glazer in particular is said to have given the impression that he is still, in his own way, emotionally invested in the affairs of the club.
Avram is expected to be present at Wembley for the team’s Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United tomorrow. The deeply unpopular brother will in all likelihood get a rousingly hostile reception from United supporters who will not be shy to relay just how much they wish him the best in his future endeavours.
The Athletic points out that one sign which is strongly indicative of the Glazers staying is the fact that ticket prices have been raised after 11 years of a price freeze.
The Peoples Person also reported that Raine Group, the firm acting on behalf of the Glazer family in the takeover talks, warned Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim against public rhetoric perceived to be damaging to the Glazers’ reputation.
Why would the Glazers care about their public image if they were intent on packing up and exiting the football scene?
The United owners have also been offered an avenue to remain at the helm of the club – It was detailed that the Elliott Group offered the Glazers significant funding that would enable them to remain in charge as opposed to being forced to sell.
The Athletic says that those involved in the takeover process have aired their concerns over whether the family will actually go through with a sale.
Growing sentiment amongst experts is that there is a strong chance for the Glazers to stay.
Kieran Maguire spoke to The Athletic and said, “I still think it is a possible rather than a probable. It is possible because they (the Glazers) are convinced that Manchester United is worth an absolute fortune and if other people don’t share that view, then why sell?”
“I think there is a reluctance to overpay from the people that have bid to date. The Glazers had hoped to get into a testosterone bidding war between the different potential bidders. That is not really Jim Ratcliffe’s scene because he knows value. From what we know about Sheikh Jassim, he is from a banking background and will be reluctant to overpay.
It is believed that Joe Ravitch, the Raine banker leading negotiations, has recommended that the Glazers do not part with United for anything less than £6bn.
Maguire adds, “The timing [for increasing ticket prices] is very strange because you are effectively committing the new owners to those revenues coming in. “If the Glazers wanted to sell and they were confident a deal was proceeding, then why not leave it to be somebody else’s problem?”
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