Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes if Sir Jim Ratcliffe is successful in his bid for the Old Trafford club it has to come with a defined exit strategy for the Glazer family.
The British billionaire’s offer for United involves buying a controlling stake and allowing brothers Joel and Avram Glazer to remain part-owners.
Ratcliffe’s main rival for the club is Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is proposing a full buy-out.
Neville said whomever is successful in a process which is currently in its ninth month the removal of the Glazers, hugely unpopular with fans, had to be a priority.
Asked for his preference of new owner Neville, speaking at the European Football Fans Congress in Manchester, said: “I genuinely don’t mind. I’d like the Glazers to leave in full.
“Even the way they are dealing with the sale process which means it ultimately just drags out as they can’t make a decision.
“There are other examples in the club at this time where they can’t basically deal with things which are difficult.
“I’m hopeful of a complete exit. The Ratcliffe bid, it has been suggested, looks like a part-exit with two of them staying and I don’t like the idea of that.
“If that bid is successful I’d like to think there is a fixed exit for the Glazer brothers say, in two years, so we know there is an exit for them which has agreed.
“So Jim Ratcliffe comes in, he has this level of money then he brings in another investor to take them out and do so within a couple of years.”
On what any new owner should prioritise once they were in place Neville added: “They would have to straightaway have to look at the football side of things because football clubs should be about football performance.
“But you can look at things simultaneously. Manchester United, 20 years ago when they came in and bought the club, had the best team, the best stadium and the best training ground.
“We are now second-rate in all those categories, we are nowhere near it.
“I don’t think Jim Ratcliffe would look at that straightaway. I think he’d look at the football side, getting that right and getting the fans on board.
“I think the Qatari bid, with all the money they have, they probably would look at all other things.”
Neville also believes United have to target higher-quality signings as opposed to “scrambling around for a £55million Mason Mount”.
“When I look at Real Madrid signing (Jude) Bellingham and others signing (Declan) Rice and the business others are doing in the market I just feel we are going to be scrambling around again for the top four. That’s my fear.
“We need two or three players that are really high quality. Two or three players of the Harry Kane-type-quality.
“Kane makes a massive difference as he guarantees goals and guarantees assists. Then you have to deal with the goalkeeping situation and then we need potentially and a full-back.”
In a wide-ranging 45-minute question and answer session at Manchester Metropolitan University Neville covered a number of subjects, from regulation in football through to his ownership of League Two club Salford, but the rivalry at the top of the Premier League was a recurring topic.
Neville was critical of Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, likening them to the Glazers, and admits Manchester City’s potential for growth scares him.
“The last seven or eight years Liverpool have been successful because of Jurgen Klopp,” he said.
“But you look at Liverpool’s net spend of, I think, £130million over the last five years and what he has done is what Sir Alex (Ferguson) was doing at Manchester United while the Glazers were there.
“He is sheltering the owners, he’s putting an umbrella over the overs to stop the rain falling on them.
“If Liverpool they were actually performing to the investment they have made they would be in trouble.
“I do think they (FSG) have similar traits to the Glazer family and I think it will uncover there in the next few years.”
On City Neville added: “What scares me a little bit about City (is) that the foundations they are building are deep.
“Not just with actual players they have signed but their weaponry around the world at attracting players to all those other feeder clubs they own and the academy players coming through.
“They could be a different level if they really wanted to in producing academy players. I think City are dangerous because the gave a very good academy.”