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Doubts emerge over Qatari bid for Manchester United amid Glazer stand-off

Rumours are growing that the Glazers will try and remain in control at Old Trafford.

The Glazer family’s ownership of Manchester United has been widely unpopular (David Davies/PA)© David Davies

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Manchester United’s ownership has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks and now it has emerged that one of the leading bidders may pull out of the process.

The Glazer family gave a strong indication that they were ready to end their controversial reign as Old Trafford owners as they invited bidders to buy the club.

Offers came in from Qatar group and Jim Radcliffe’s INEOS group, but the delay in announcing a preferred bidder has fuelled speculation that the Glazers are not ready to leave after all.

United’s American owners are also believed to be open to fresh investment in the club that will allow them to retain control of the club.

Now Sky Sports are reporting the Qatar consortium that had expressed an interest in buying United may be ready to withdraw their interest.

The bid led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani is believed to have offered an inflated price to buy the Glazers out of United, but there are suggestions that there is a feeling they won’t be given a chance to complete a deal.

Last week, his father Sheikh Hamad questioned bidding for United by saying he "doesn't like the investment", amid claims they have bid £4.5billion for the club.

There have also been reports that investment from US hedge-fund Elliott Management could allow the Glazers to get fresh finance into the club without selling.

These latest developments will add to comments from United legend Gary Neville, who fears the Glazers are preparing to stay at the club after failing to attract a big enough bid.

“I am concerned about the rumours that some of the Glazer family don’t want to sell,” said Neville.

"One of the rumours we heard about before Christmas was that they were going to stay, and try and find ‘strategic investment’, which is something FSG have mentioned at Liverpool.

"That means you buy part of the family out, you leave Joel and Avi Glazer in, but Joel and Avi will retain control of the club. That’s a nightmare scenario.

“I would advise any investor who’s coming in, wanting to take a minority stake and leave Joel and Avi in - they will be very unpopular people and their brand will be damaged enormously because the fans are not going to accept it.

“Manchester United fans are hugely fearful that the club won’t get sold. There were huge renditions of ‘Glazers Out’ at the last match. It’s not in doubt that Manchester United fans want a change of ownership.

"I started to doubt it (proposed sale) when the club put the ticket prices up – I read a lot of replied from United fans saying that it was business as usual and they have to think about FFP, which is fair as there has to be an increase in revenues to make sure Manchester United can invest more in players next season.

“They’ve just appointed a director of operations, which is a senior position within the club which I thought that was strange, as surely, they’d wait and see if the sale is going to go through in the next month or two.

"Then they’re raising ticket prices, taking criticism that they won’t benefit as they would’ve sold the club by then. The belief that putting the prices up will mean that Sir Jim Radcliffe or the Qataris will pay more money is rubbish – they’re already paying triple or quadruple the value that the club is worth.”

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