Football Digest: Ratcliffe closes in on deal for 25% stake in Man Utd
Rio Ferdinand could be cursed after being left with egg on his face for the second time after making a bold claim on a high-profile Manchester United incident. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s likely success in purchasing 25 per cent of the club for around £1.4billion has left many eating their words, including Ferdinand.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani was unsurprisingly considered the frontrunner throughout the 11-month sale process, given his status as a Qatari royal.
But he didn’t match the Glazers’ outlandish £6bn valuation for 100 per cent of United, and his refusal to improve the offer prompted his withdrawal from the frame last week.
In June, four months ago, Ferdinand claimed that a United takeover was imminent and that Sheikh Jassim was the successful candidate.
“The Manchester United takeover is imminent,” Ferdinand claimed a good source had informed him on his FIVE YouTube channel.
“We are hearing the Qatari bid is the one that has been accepted, the one that is imminent and the one that is going to go through. Hallelujah, man. I cannot wait.
“Please let this happen. Look how long this has gone on for. The Glazers have dug their heels in.
READ MORE Man Utd takeover timescale as ‘Jim Ratcliffe plan’ for Glazer removal emerges[TAKEOVER]
“It will go to the biggest bidder, which is normal in negotiations, but I want this to be resolved before the transfer window kicks in, and now it is opening and starting to move.”
It’s not the first time Ferdinand has excited supporters with his comments about United. Remember that famous Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speech? Of course you do.
In March 2019, United had just dumped Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League last 16 after Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time penalty sealed a 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes.
The broadcast cuts back to the BT Sport – now TNT Sports – studio, and an adrenaline-fuelled Ferdinand, a pundit on the night, can’t sit still on the bench.
And then he says those words…
He shouted: “Man United might not thank me, but get the contract out, put it on the table, let him sign it and let him write whatever numbers he wants to put on there given what he’s done now since he’s come in.
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“Let him sign the contract. Ole’s at the wheel man. He’s doing his thing. Man United are back.”
The excitement was perhaps justified. United had won 14 of their 17 games under Solskjaer’s interim reign following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
They had also just become the first-ever club to come back from a two-goal deficit away from home to win a Champions League tie.
United did hand the Norwegian a contract weeks later, but he didn’t last three years before his dismissal to continue the manager merry-go-round post-Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferdinand once again raised United fans’ hopes (those who were comfortable with state ownership, anyway). But it, again, didn’t turn out the way he envisaged.
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