While it may be international break, and thus no Manchester United action on the pitch to discuss, there is a much bigger and way more important game being played, in relation to the club, off the pitch right now.
It’s the highest stakes game of capitalism, and it involves who, if anyone, will take ownership of the club away from the Glazer family.
Today/tonight is going to be huge for potential purchasers to submit their second (and obviously improved) bids over to Raine Group, the New York City based investment bank that is overseeing the sale of the club.
Right now, it’s mostly a two horse race, between INEOS owner/British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and a consortium led by banker and Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani (We have more on him over at this post).
For now, we’ll focus on Ratcliffe, who came up short in his bid to buy Chelsea FC last year. He would actually prefer to buy his boyhood club of United anyway, sources say.
Ratcliffe has told The Wall Street Journal that he won’t pay a ‘stupid price’ for MUFC.
“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint,” Ratcliffe said to the WSJ.
“What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”
What does that mean exactly?
Both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, reportedly, fell well short of that amount in their first bids.
According to the last valuation in Forbes, last May, the club is worth about $4.6B (£3.7B).
So what will it take to get this deal over the line and done? Well, according to the Mirror, a world-record £5.5bn bid is coming in from Sheikh Jassim, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe will match it, according to the Independent.
Indeed, a world-record bidding war is on to buy Manchester United. In the words of legendary St. Louis based rapper Nelly “my price range is Rover!” Or actually the more appropriate Nelly lyrics would be “there ain’t no cap on my salary!”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.