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Glazers assessing final Manchester United offers with key week ahead
It’s a key week in the Manchester United sale process. The Glazers are assessing final offers. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid was the highest and is believed to be close to £5.2bn ($6.5bn). That number is the 100% club valuation, from which Ratcliffe would pay whatever percentage he takes if successful.
Ratcliffe is flexible. He is prepared to agree to various structures, providing he has control of the club. One option is Joel and Avram Glazer remain with a minority stake, but they would lose their Class B voting power. Ratcliffe will only proceed if he has control.
INEOS has been built on acquiring companies and see their experience in mergers and acquisitions as helpful in this process. Ratcliffe has also earmarked Paul Mitchell as part of the Manchester United project if successful. Mitchell was considered previously for Nice, which is also part of the INEOS group.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his Nine Two Foundation, haven’t given up. There was huge confusion over the weekend as to the nature of their offer. Well-placed sources indicated a bid of around £5bn was inclusive of £0.8bn in pledged investment. The latter is not relevant to the process (it’s obviously so important to Manchester United going forward but won’t be considered in the decision making) and would put the club valuation number far lower than Ratcliffe’s. However, those close to the Nine Two Foundation dispute this and state the pledged investment is in addition to a “competitive” offer.
Nine Two Foundation will now await feedback, but sources indicate they haven’t ruled out going directly to the Glazers to try and strike a deal. This would entail removing all intermediaries and potentially even bypassing Raine Group. Whether or not the Glazers would entertain this remains to be seen. Raine are trusted, as is their process. Either way, it is thought the Qatar bid must go up in value via whatever means or route to stand a realistic chance.
A final key point is this shouldn’t be billed as only a straight race between Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim. The April 28 deadline was (and still is) to establish whether a new full or controlling owner is likely, and if so one group will be put forward as the preferred bidder.
But there are also strategic investors still in the process, including Carlyle, Ares, Sixth Street and Elliott. All these options help drive competitive tension, too. So after months of games, and poker faces, early May will be important to understanding the next step as the Glazers must finally show their hand.
Sadio Mane to Chelsea looks unlikely, but Jose Mourinho is a big fan
Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich
Sadio Mane’s move to Bayern hasn’t worked out. Mane hasn’t brought his Liverpool form to Germany, scoring only seven Bundesliga goals, which in turn means the void left by Robert Lewandowski hasn’t been filled.
Add to that the physical altercation between Mane and Leroy Sane, leading to the former punching the latter in the face and cutting open his lip, and it’s obvious why there’s a chance Mane leaves Bayern this summer. But as with Ryan Gravenberch – who didn’t enjoy playing under Julian Nagelsmann, and Bayern intend to keep – Thomas Tuchel can still change the narrative.
Mane is perhaps not a tactical fit right now at Bayern, which is why he’s not an automatic starter. Remember, Lewandowski was a target man. And it’s been tough for Mane to settle. He struggled in a 3-4-2-1 under Nagelsmann and had a mid-season fibula injury that kept him out of the World Cup with Senegal.
Although a summer exit is possible, Tuchel is still intent on trying to get the best out of Mane. A lot will depend on whether the player regrets the move and just pushes for another new challenge. Then it won’t suit Bayern to keep an unhappy or demotivated Mane.
What is clear for now is that Chelsea are not currently considering Mane. There have been no talks despite rumours Mauricio Pochettino has earmarked the player as a transfer target should he land the job at Stamford Bridge.
Pochettino, at the time of writing, hasn’t signed as the new Chelsea boss, although is widely expected to do so. But Chelsea’s recruitment is done in numbers, and they want a traditional striker – more like Lewandowski than Mane in style, but younger than both. Chelsea want to buy younger players so that transfer fees are investments not expenses. There will always be exceptions to this model, but I don’t anticipate Mane being one of them.
Liverpool are also not considering re-signing Mane. But keep an eye on Roma. No approach has been made to date, but Jose Mourinho is a big fan.