Sir Jim Ratcliffe confirms desire to buy Man Utd – ‘We have formally put ourselves into the process’

Boyhood Manchester United fan and one of Britain’s richest men, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has confirmed he is officially in the running to buy the club from the Glazers.

The Glazer family announced in November they were “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives” for the Red Devils.

“New investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company” are said to be considered.

Giving up their ownership of United would end a controversial 18-year stint.

The Glazers have received lots of criticism from United fans for their involvement in the failed breakaway European Super League doing themselves no favours.

It is believed they are hoping to receive at least £5billion to sell the Premier League giants and will be happy to see Erik ten Hag’s good work on the pitch this term.

Ratcliffe’s name has been frequently mentioned ever since the club was put up for sale.

The 70-year-old had registered an interest in acquiring Chelsea before a Todd Boehly-led consortium succeeded Roman Abramovich.

In fact, Ratcliffe made a bid to buy the Blues but left it too late to register formal interest.

He has also met with the Glazers in the past, though this was before the club was officially up for sale.

There is believed to be interest coming from investors in Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States.

And now Ratcliffe has become the first to officially register an interest in buying United.

A spokesperson for the Ineos CEO confirmed to The Times on Tuesday: “We have formally put ourselves into the process.”

Whoever is interested in buying United has to register their interest with the merchant band running the Glazers’ sale and must be willing to sign up to see confidential financial documents and commit to undertaking due diligence before a possible takeover.

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Formal bids should come in ‘next month’ and there is a chance a takeover will be completed before the end of the 2022-23 season.

Speaking in October, Ratcliffe admitted he would have made an attempt to buy the Red Devils if they were up for sale last summer.

“I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan,” he told the Financial Times. “I was there in that most remarkable match in 1999 in Barcelona. That is deeply etched in my mind.

“Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I have met Joel and Avram. They are the nicest people, I have to say, proper gentlemen.

“They don’t want to sell it (the club). It’s owned by the six children of the father. If it had been for sale in the summer, yes we would probably have had a go following on from the Chelsea thing. But we can’t sit around hoping one day Manchester United will become available.”

Ratcliffe’s net worth is believed to be in the region of $15.5b.

A potential stumbling block is Ratcliffe’s ownership of French Nice.

Clubs under the same ownership cannot compete in the same European competition.

Nice are 10th in Ligue 1 so are unlikely to qualify for Europe, unless they win the Europa Conference League, which is not an unrealistic ask, but they are certainly not favourites.

Ratcliffe has his fingers in many sporting pies with investments in football, cycling, rugby union, sailing and Formula One.

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