Manchester United bidders have until Friday evening to submit final offers

Bidders for Manchester United have been given a deadline of Friday night (Ian Hodgson/PA) (PA Archive)
Bidders for Manchester United have been given a deadline of Friday night (Ian Hodgson/PA) (PA Archive)

Manchester United bidders have until Friday evening to submit their third and final offers as the potential sales process rumbles on.

The Old Trafford giants announced in November that the board was exploring strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth, with a full sale one option being considered.

The club’s owners, the Glazer family, are said to value United at £6billion and the Raine Group, which facilitated the sale of Chelsea, was brought in to oversee the process.

February 17 was the soft deadline for expressions of interest and March 22 the second deadline for those that progressed.

That was eventually extended by a few days and the PA news agency understands Raine has asked interested parties for their third and final bid on Friday. Bids for previous rounds had to land by 10pm UK time – 5pm time on the east coast of the United States.

Bloomberg reported on the eve of the deadline that bidders have been asked to clarify the source of their money, planned financial models and debts that would be secured against the club.

The third deadline comes as a promising first season on the pitch under Erik ten Hag edges towards its conclusion, with United facing Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3 as they look to add to their Carabao Cup triumph.

The team are also on course for Champions League qualification but uncertainty about the future provides an unwanted cloud over a club looking to get back to the top.

Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, was the first prospective owner to publicly confirm a bid.

INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe quickly followed, with both parties making trips to Manchester last month to visit the club and speak to the senior hierarchy.

In addition to Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe, Carlyle, Elliott Management, Ares Management and Sixth Street have reportedly made minority investment proposals.

It has also been reported this week that one option on the table could see Ratcliffe take a controlling stake of more than 50 per cent, with Avram and Joel Glazer retaining a combined 20 per cent. Ratcliffe’s representatives did not comment on the matter when contacted by the PA news agency.

In the wake of that story, the 1958 – a United supporters group that came to prominence last year – posted on Twitter: “If you get in bed with Glazer. You are a Glazer. The fans will have their say this Sunday. FULL SALE ONLY.”

United fans have let their fury known at the Glazers ever since their leveraged takeover in 2005 and the 1958 have led renewed protests against them for the past year.

Banners against the Glazers were seen at Wembley in last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out win against Brighton and a protest is planned at Sunday’s Premier League home match against Aston Villa.

Leaving from central Manchester at 11.45am, the march will continue onto Old Trafford and involve an 18-minute boycott of the match.

“We boycott the game for 18 minutes,” the 1958 said. “One minute for each year the Glazers have driven our club into the ground.”

The protest is due to stop outside of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, who earlier this month urged for the potential takeover process to be accelerated.

“With Erik ten Hag having made such great progress in his first season, and with the vital summer transfer window a matter of weeks away, the news of these delays and further prolonged uncertainty are of great concern,” a MUST statement read.

“Erik needs to know what resources he has to spend so he can make the signings the club needs, and the whole management resources of the club need to be focused on supporting him in that. That cannot be the case with the future ownership so unclear.

“We are also unable to move forward on major investment projects – not least the stadium redevelopment as we remain in limbo.

“We are in dire need of new investment, which undoubtedly requires new ownership. MUST, along with United fans all around the world, are calling for this process to be concluded without further delay.”