Days after reportedly lodging a 'fifth and final' take-it-or-leave-it offer to buy Manchester United, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has new faith in his bid as time ticks down to a decision being made.
That's according to the Daily Mail following suggestions the Qatari-led consortium has had its confidence renewed in recent days. Sheikh Jassim has been positioned at the front of the Nine Two Foundation's buy-out attempt, which would see it control all of the club and return to the team to entirely private ownership.
It had been suggested in recent weeks that Sir Jim Ratcliffe's proposal is the Glazer family's preferred choice. Rather than buy the club outright, Ratcliffe reportedly intends to purchase 60% and keep the Glazer siblings as stakeholders during a transitional period.
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That was believed to have put the INEOS founder in a prime position for the purchase. It's expected Man United will be sold for a record amount in the neighbourhood of £6billion, with a decision on the matter expected by Friday.
Both sides of the negotiation are understood to have driven hard bargains, but Sheikh Jassim's team improved their chances with a late increase to their offer. And those acting on the Qatari royals behalf are understood to feel as though they're 'very much in the game' as a result.
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It's understood Sheikh Jassim's offer is worth around £5bn initially, with another £1bn investment to come at a later date. Although long-time United fan Ratcliffe, 70, is bidding for a smaller share of the Premier League outfit, it's suggested his offer values the Red Devils at a higher sum.
The disparity between the two was reportedly higher prior to the improved Jassim offer, however, which has added some late drama to negotiations.
Sheikh Jassim's takeover attempt was already clouded in controversy recently following reports Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was enlisted to help convince the former to increase his offer. The exact identities of those involved in the Nine Two Foundation bid have become a greater talking point in recent days, with doubts emerging over Sheikh Jassim's actual involvement.
English native Ratcliffe is considered by many to be a superior candidate given his finances and long ties to United. However, fans are also conflicted over the idea of elongating the Glazers' stay at the club, with the Americans having become vilified figures at Old Trafford.
On the other hand, former Qatari heir Sheikh Jassim represents another sovereign state looing to consolidate power at a European powerhouse, which is reason enough for some supporters to scrutinise his bid.
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