Time is running out for prospective bidders to make their offers to buy Manchester United.
Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe have been the only two figures to go public with their interest but it is likely there will be other proposals received before Wednesday’s 9pm deadline.
The PA news agency understands Sheikh Jassim will submit a second indicative bid before the cut-off but INEOS founder Ratcliffe has been more circumspect in his assessment of the process, insisting he will not pay a “stupid” price as the bidding war hots up.
United’s owners the Glazer family have reportedly set a £6billion figure for their valuation of a club they bought for £750million in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005.
Ratcliffe told the Wall Street Journal: “How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint.
“What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”
However, Ratcliffe, who already owns French club Nice, said his interest in United would be “purely in winning things”, calling the club a “community asset”.
INEOS representatives, including Ratcliffe himself, visited United last Friday a day after representatives of Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim attended Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington training ground to hold more talks as part of their due diligence.
Meetings went on for 10 hours and were described as positive and constructive by sources close to Sheikh Jassim and – while their scrutiny of United’s financial figures continues – the PA news agency understands a second bid to buy full control of the club will still be submitted as they remain confident their proposal is the best one for the club, the fans and the city of Manchester as a whole.
Sky Sports News has reported that more than five bids will be submitted by the Wednesday deadline and potentially as many as eight.