Man Utd bidder Sheikh Jassim still active as Sir Jim Ratcliffe faces bad news

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion deal for a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United has been imminent for weeks but continues being pushed back for reasons out of his control. And Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s hopes of a hijack could remain alive until that agreement with the Glazer family is ratified, which reportedly now may not be this year.

The Glazers announced their strategic review over 12 months ago, starting a long-winded takeover saga with Sir Jim and Sheikh Jassim at the forefront.

Sheikh Jassim withdrew his £5bn bid for a full sale in October after learning that Joel and Avram Glazer had little intention to cash in.

It left Sir Jim as the hot favourite to seal a deal, which helps the Glazer siblings retain a majority stake but is set to see them transfer sporting control over to INEOS.

However, the 71-year-old founder of the petrochemicals giant will undoubtedly be growing frustrated by the continuous delays after being named the preferred bidder.

And according to i, his 25 per cent stake at Old Trafford may not be confirmed until next year while there are still issues to be resolved between lawyers.

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The report claims neither party has gone cold on the investment, and there is still an intention to push the deal through as soon as possible.

However, as long as Sir Jim doesn’t get his foot in the door at his childhood club, the chance of a Sheikh Jassim second wind lingers.

The Qatari banker, also a United fan, reportedly remains active around the football world, suggesting he still plans to invest in a project, whether at his dream club or not.

Italian outlet La Repubblica report that Sheikh Jassim is set to enter talks about a possible investment in Serie A giants Inter Milan.

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Inter owner Stevan Zhang is currently in China battling lawsuits and debt repayments worth up to £340m owed to American firm Oaktree.

And Sheikh Jassim’s riches would present a welcome boost at the San Siro. A part of him could be keen to show United what they could’ve had.

Sir Jim’s wait for his minority stake at the Red Devils continues to grow, though, which may offer him a glimmer of hope, given the Glazers can’t afford to miss out on investment.

The expectation, though, is that the Failsworth-born tycoon will ultimately enter power at Old Trafford and be in control of the football operation by next summer.

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