Manchester United players and staff are positive about the future after the club was effectively put up for sale by the Glazer family.
New owners would mean a fresh start for everyone at the club and remove the negativity of the hostility towards the current owners.
According to someone involved in the sale process, Manchester United and Liverpool are “both fishing in the same US pond” when it comes to attracting buyers.
Sky Sports News have been told that despite the big numbers being talked about, realistic sale prices would be £2.75bn for Liverpool and £4bn for United.
The world-record sale price for a sports franchise is the £3.9bn paid by members of the Walton family for Denver Broncos in August.
Potential bidders are expected to approach famous former Manchester United players such as David Beckham and famous supporters such as Rory McIlroy to be part of their consortiums.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe tried to buy Chelsea through The Raine Group and they are aware of his interest in United.
We are told the fact that about 25 per cent of United’s shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange would make it easier to sell the club to US-based sports investors.
Apple have been approached for comment about their reported interest in buying United. Tech companies have become more and more interested in buying content for their streaming platforms but it would be a change in strategy for a company like Apple to buy a football club.
We understand Qatar Sports Investments, who own PSG, have no interest in buying United.
Why are both Liverpool and Man Utd on the market?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy: “It is in large part sparked by the £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea.
“Sky Sports News has been told the Glazers and Fenway Sports Group have been advised for months it is a “peak period” for the valuation of top clubs, as told by the fact the west London side commanded such a staggering figure despite a forced sale due to the sanctions on Roman Abramovich.
“It cost £2.5bn to acquire the oligarch’s shares and a binding pledge of £1.75bn of future investment in the club’s stadium, academy, and women’s team, to reach the figure of £4.25bn.
“One US-based source, who has engaged with the Glazers and FSG over financial matters, said the Chelsea sale “moved the dial” for both owners. They had been heavily reluctant to consider a sale before “seeing the scope of legitimate interest out there”.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire: “The Glazers have seen what’s happened at Chelsea. They have spoken to friends at Fenway Sports Group at Liverpool, and they will know the amount of interest which has been placed, in terms of the Liverpool sale, is concerned.
“Given the price Liverpool is probably being sold for, they will feel they can get a premium on top of that, and it would now be an ideal time to sell – given Manchester United now needs a huge spend, in terms of infrastructure and also, arguably, player recruitment.”
What other factors are there?
Melissa Reddy: “Beyond financial circles believing this is prime time to be on the market, the increasing costs of having to compete with state-powered clubs on and off the pitch has also been significant.
“United and Liverpool were driving forces behind the failed European Super League, which would have seen spending on transfer fees and wages capped at a certain percentage of revenue to ‘level the playing field’ with clubs boasting unlimited resources. The ESL was also a guarantee of ballooning income, while in its absence, a sale is viewed as the best way to maximise the return on investment.
“United have the added concern of interest rate risk to consider, as well as fan protests and overwhelming unhappiness at their ownership.
“The clubs are also factoring in the bleak global economic forecasts for the next few years.”
Kieran Maguire: “I don’t think (Cristiano) Ronaldo’s departure will affect things as much as people are claiming. If you look at the most recent Manchester United accounts, the value of merchandise sales actually dropped in 2021/2022, compared to the previous season – despite Ronaldo being there.
“So, I expect the anticipated bump didn’t materialise, and therefore it’s probably in the best interest of all parties that he does move on.”