Manchester United could see the most expensive takeover in Premier League history after the Glazer family reportedly extended the deadline for interested parties to submit bids. Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of petrochemical company Ineos, have publicly declared an interest in the Old Trafford club. Manchester United is one of football’s most valuable commodities, with any deal likely to surpass the takeover of Chelsea by a consortium led by Todd Boehly last year.
The Independent reviews six other expensive Premier League takeovers, starting with Sheikh Mansour’s Manchester City in 2008 for £210m. Sheikh Mansour’s takeover precipitated the establishment of Man City as a global football brand, leading to an era of record transfer deals and sustained success. The club has also been charged under the Premier League’s financial rules.
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) paid £300m for Liverpool in 2010, using their investment to support Jurgen Klopp in building the club’s first Premier League-winning side. But FSG has become unpopular among Liverpool supporters, with owner John W Henry apologising to fans for the club’s failed European Super League project, and the group willing to consider new shareholders.
Newcastle United was bought for £300m in October 2021 by a consortium led by Saudi Public Investment Fund, following initial resistance from the Premier League amid significant criticiam from human rights groups, and after a protracted 18-month process of increased investment.
American billionaire Stan Kroenke has been involved with Arsenal since 2008, spending over £700m to buy and maintain majority control of the club. Kroenke’s ownership of Arsenal and other sports franchise has been criticised by many. The Glazer family first bought a minor stake in Man Utd in 2003, before completing a full takeover in 2005 for £790m. Old Trafford is in need of refurbishment and Man Utd’s fortunes have dipped since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Reports suggest that the Glazers are now on the brink of a sale.
Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital acquired Chelsea for £4.25bn last year, in the wake of sanctions placed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Boehly’s ownership of Chelsea has seen major outlays in the transfer market, with the businessman’s erractic transfer strategy and heavy involvement criticised by some. Stamford Bridge has seen an apparent clash between Boehly and Thomas Tuchel ending in the latter being replaced by Graham Potter.