Jim Ratcliffe: Ineos billionaire 'definitely a potential buyer' of Manchester United

Spokesman says British businessman interested in taking 'long-term ownership' of the club following reports Glazer family are considering selling a minority stake

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A spokesman for British businessman Jim Ratcliffe said the Ineos petrochemicals billionaire is "definitely a potential buyer" of Manchester United if the English football giants are put up for sale by the Glazer family.

Ineos was responding to reports United's current owners are considering selling a minority stake in the club.

The Ineos spokesman told The Times that Ratcliffe, reportedly Britain's richest man with an estimated net worth of $13 billion, would be prepared to buy a stake as a prelude to assuming full control at Old Trafford.

"If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership," the spokesman said.

The Glazers, who bought United in 2005 in a leveraged buyout that saddled the club with a mountains of debt, have long been accused of taking more out financially than they have invested in terms of transfer funds or in redeveloping the club's crumbling Old Trafford ground.

They further angered United fans by backing the failed European Super League project in April last year which would have led to the club joining a breakaway competition.

Last year, British newspaper The Daily Mirror reported that the Glazers were prepared to sell the club but only if they were offered in excess of £4 billion.

The record 20-time English champions have got the new campaign off to a disastrous start under new manager Erik ten Hag. An opening day 2-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion was followed by an embarrassing 4-0 defeat away to Brentford last weekend to leave them bottom of the Premier League. United last won the Premier League in 2013 and have not lifted a major trophy since 2017.

United's lack of transfer activity - only Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen have been added to a squad that finished sixth last season - has only added to United fans' angst. First-choice target Frenkie de Jong has made it clear he wants to remain at Barcelona while an offer for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro is being mulled over by the Brazilian.

"This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent," the Ineos spokesman also told The Times.

"Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset."

United fan Ratcliffe failed with a late bid for Premier League rivals Chelsea in May, losing out to US businessman Todd Boehly's consortium.

Ineos already owns French Ligue 1 football club Nice, Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport, the former Team Sky cycling franchise, and also sponsors Formula One constructors' world champions Mercedes.

Their interest in buying out the Glazers following the new that Elon Musk, reportedly the world's richest man, said an earlier tweet saying he planned to buy United was done in jest and part of a "long-running joke" on Twitter.

The highest earners at Old Trafford

Updated: August 18, 2022, 1:24 PM