The fans of the club are vehemently pressurizing the current owners to sell.
The controversy around the owners of Manchester United has become intense in the last few days. In the aftermath of the European Super League’s fallout, the Glazer family are under immense pressure to sell the club. According to reports, the Glazers’ ownership has cost the club £1.5 billion in interest, debt and other outgoings.
The Glazers bought Manchester United in 2005 and used loans against club assets to pay for the takeover. The fans accuse the owners of taking money out of the club. They have not invested more capital, improved the condition of Old Trafford and showed a lack of commitment towards the traditions of the outfit. There have been scores of protests since the ESL and the role of the Glazers in the said tournament have emerged.
Reportedly, the Glazers have set a price tag of £4 billion for a potential sale, as they see the price fair, which is in line with the historical relevance and stature of the club. Keeping the price-tag in consideration, here are five potential suitors who could possibly afford Manchester United.
5. Mukesh Ambani
Back in September 2020, a huge section of Manchester United fans pleaded Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani to take over the club. The outcry came on the backdrop of yet another unsatisfactory business in the transfer market by the club, failing to secure top transfer targets.
Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian and the largest stakeholder in Reliance Industries, the richest company in India. According to Bloomberg, Ambani is the richest Asian with a net worth of US$71.1 billion. Ambani has not ventured into sports investment in the UK and Manchester United lines up with the ambitions of the Indian.
However, through his wife Nita Ambani, the Reliance Industries has a subsidiary called Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), which is the commercial partner of All India Football Federation (AIFF) and operates the Indian Super League.
4. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world. Among his multiple designations, he is most prominently the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX and CEO and product architect of Tesla.
The South Africa-born business magnate’s net worth is around a mind boggling US$186.8 billion. He is one of the few individuals who can easily afford to buy Manchester United. His interest in sports and an overall eccentric personality is a reason why he could be a potential investor. Elon’s involvement in multiple ventures also shows his ambitious nature and a step into sports business is inevitable.
3. Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe
Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe is a British billionaire businessman based out of Monaco in France. He is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ineos chemicals group. The company has been estimated to have a turnover of $15 billion in 2019. Ratcliffe’s net worth is estimated to be around $28.2 billion, and he was the richest person in the UK in 2018.
Interestingly, Ratcliffe has been vocal about his support for Manchester United. He has supported the club since his childhood and still follows the team. The fans of the club have regularly implored him to consider buying the club from the Glazer family.
2. Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor, the famous MMA fighter has tweeted about his interest in buying the club. The message came in the aftermath of the European Super League’s debacle. MUFC were one of the ‘founding members’ alongside the other ‘big six’ clubs from the league. The Irishman’s net worth is approximately £100 million, which means he cannot afford to buy the club by himself.
However, he has expressed the desire to purchase it and could do so by partnering with an investment group. Moreover, McGregor has established himself as an ambitious businessman outside of the sport. McGregor recently sold his stake in the whiskey brand, ‘Proper Number Twelve’. Thanks to the sale, his net worth is set to double in value.
1. Mohammed bin Salman
Mohammed bin Salman is the most likely figurehead who could buy Manchester United. Richard Arnold, the director at Manchester United met Saudi delegates in 2019, fueling the rumors of a takeover bid. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman is excited by the prospect of owning a Premier League club. Apparently, the Red Devils are his priority.
In fact, the Saudi delegates tried to take over Newcastle United in late 2020. The move, in excess of £300 million for another outfit in England’s top-flight, however, did not materialize. Salman, through Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, could launch another takeover bid. However, the controversies regarding his role with human rights violations in Saudi Arabia remains a topic of discussion.