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"I was told..." - BBC journalist on rumours Sheikh Jassim is ready to pull out of Man Utd takeover battle

"I was told..." - BBC journalist on rumours Sheikh Jassim is ready to pull out of Man Utd takeover battle

Another twist in the Manchester United takeover saga?

BBC journalist Simon Stone has set the record straight amid rumours Sheikh Jassim is planning to pull out of the race to buy Manchester United.

The Qatari businessman, full name Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, has submitted several offers for the Premier League club, with his fifth and final bid believed to be worth around £5bn - with a further £1bn of investment pledged.

He faces competition from British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who unlike Sheikh Jassim – who is trying to buy 100 per cent of the club – is only looking to take a controlling stake of more than 50 per cent.

More than eight months since the process first began, Raine Group - who is handling the sale on behalf of the Glazer family - is yet to confirm if a bid has been successful, or even name a preferred bidder.

The protracted sale has led to speculation the Glazers could change their mind and choose to keep a controlling stake in United.

Stone provides Man Utd takeover update

Speaking to The United Stand, BBC journalist Stone says both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim remain in contention to buy United.

When asked if Ratcliffe was still in the race, Stone said: "I think he is. My understanding is that nothing is off the table.

"We all get told things, there can be frustration from one side or the other. There can be a belief that this is going to happen, or that is going to happen.

"I was told a rumour the other day that Sheikh Jassim was about to pull out. I checked that, and that was just dismissed.

"There are all kinds of rumours but ultimately people can feel the way they feel. They can be frustrated. They can believe that they're in pole position or that they're behind. It comes back to the Glazers.

"The only thing that I would say - and there was a lot of reporting about this - when we were at the period of final deadlines which seems like months ago now, after that more bids came in from Sheikh Jassim. That was off the back of Sir Ratcliffe.

"My colleague Faisal Islam was told that Ratcliffe is the ultimate deal maker. It depends how you view Sheikh Jassim, but if you think he has more financial muscle to flex than Jim Ratcliffe – well then Ratcliffe has to come up with a deal.

"And he came up with a deal by reducing the amount that he wanted to buy at the football club and offering the Glazer family the chance to remain but taking over more than 50 per cent so he would be in control.

"That was viewed as a move that got Jim Ratcliffe ahead. This was never challenged by anyone but you can only assume that on the basis that since this final deadline was there, there have been two more bids from Sheikh Jassim. You can assume that was right, otherwise why would Sheikh Jassim bid again?"

Featured Image Credit: PA & The United Stand

Topics: Manchester United, Football, Premier League, Sheikh Jassim