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Qatari investors are planning an incredible mega-money swoop for Manchester United and want to give manager Erik ten Hag the financial backing to lead the club back to the top, Sportsmail can reveal.
Sources have disclosed a group of private, high-wealth individuals based in the oil-rich state, buoyed by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, have set their sights on a club they view as ‘football’s crown jewels’.
They will make an offer for United in the coming days, ahead of the mid-February deadline set by the Glazers, and are confident their bid will blow the competition out of the water.
United’s owners are seeking more than £6billion for the club, and there is the prospect of another huge bill to redevelop Old Trafford, or knock down the iconic venue and build a new state-of-the-art facility. Such a project could cost more than £2bn, but that would not be a problem for the Qatari group.
Fan engagement is at the heart of their bid and they may well seek the views of supporters on the future of the stadium.
Qatari investors are set to make a huge bid for Manchester United in the coming days
Manager Erik ten Hag (L) would get a massive transfer kitty if the deal went through. Qatar’s monarch Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (R) is known to be a big Manchester United fan
A group of private, high-wealth individuals based in the oil-rich state, buoyed by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, have set their sights on a club they view as ‘football’s crown jewels’
One potential stumbling block is Qatar Sports Investments’ ownership of Paris Saint-Germain. One entity cannot own two clubs in the same competition — and United and PSG could meet in Europe.
The bid for United would come from separate, individual Qatari investors. There is no interest in taking a partial stake, with only a full-blown takeover being discussed. Insiders have disclosed that the group want to use the knowledge gained from hosting the World Cup and are seeking a new project.
That would include handing Ten Hag a transfer war-chest to allow him to compete for signings with the world’s richest clubs.
‘There are significant funds available,’ they said. ‘These people are serious. They want to make sure that United are where they should be and they are confident theirs will be the strongest bid.
United’s owners Joel (L) and Avram (R) Glazer are seeking north of £6bn to sell the club
A successful bid would see a Qatari-owned United go up against Saudi-owned Newcastle
‘They want to strengthen the squad to put them back at the top but they also want this to be for the good of the community.
‘They also want to build on the success of the World Cup. They recognise that Manchester United is the biggest football club in the world, the crown jewels, and there is a steely-minded determination to buy it and get it to where it should be.’
A successful bid would see Manchester’s two clubs on opposite sides of the Qatar-Abu Dhabi rivalry. It would also see Qatari-owned United go up against Saudi-owned Newcastle. The Gulf neighbours are fierce rivals.
The takeover would need Premier League approval and may face opposition in some quarters, given concerns over the country’s human rights record.
The Emir of Qatar, head of its absolute monarchy, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is a committed United fan who is well aware of the club’s history.
In 2011, it was reported that the Al Thani family had an offer of more than £1bn for United turned down by the Glazers.
The Qataris face a significant rival in Jim Ratcliffe – who is the richest man in Britain
That year, they bought a 70 per cent stake in PSG. Although the French giants are yet to win a Champions League title, Qatari money has transformed the club into the biggest in the country and made it a global force.
The Qataris face a significant rival in Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man. Others are likely to submit bids, too, but the Ineos owner and lifelong United supporter was the first to go public with his intention to buy the club.
US merchant bankers Raine, who are handling the process and also oversaw the sale of Chelsea, have already shared financial information with interested parties ahead of the move to the next stage.
No timeframe has been set for completion but the Qataris are keen for the process to reach a quick conclusion.