On an important day for the Premier League heavyweights, the Glazer family has stated they will consider selling Manchester United, potentially signaling the beginning of the end of their controversial tenure.
Only hours after Cristiano Ronaldo’s shocking early exit from Old Trafford by mutual consent was confirmed, a statement from the United board indicated that they would consider “all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions.”
“Manchester United plc announced today that the company’s board of directors has begun a process to examine strategic alternatives for the club,” according to a release on the club’s official website.
“The process is intended to improve the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on chances on and off the field.”
“The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers,” said United co-chairmen Avram and Joel Glazer. “As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future. Throughout this process, we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
The notion of a sale will undoubtedly bring hope to large numbers of United fans who have grown disillusioned with the Glazers’ ownership of the club since a £790 million leveraged acquisition in 2005.
Protests against the Glazers have continued this season, with long-simmering dissatisfaction with the club’s direction revived by last year’s European Super League debacle.
“There can be no assurance that the current review will result in any transaction involving the company,” United added in its statement.
“Manchester United does not intend to make further statements about the review unless and until the board has approved a specific deal or another course of action necessitating a formal announcement,” the statement said.
Potential bids for United are still unknown, with Ineos founder and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe having previously expressed interest in purchasing a Premier League club – attempting to swoop for Chelsea at the last minute – and being a United supporter.
However, the owner of Nice recently appeared to rule himself out of a potential investment at Liverpool, with Fenway Sports Group (FSG) exploring the sale of the Anfield club.