Red Knights will not pay over odds

CITY financiers determined to take control of Manchester United have vowed not to over-pay for the club.

A statement released yesterday came after Old Trafford sources ramped up the stakes by claiming the club has already knocked back a £1.5bn bid from a far east consortium.

The news has been construed as a plan by United’s American owners to unsettle the so-called Red Knights on the eve of an expected bid for the club. A statement by the Red Knights, which includes Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill and former Centrica boss Sir Roy Gardner, suggests the consortium is losing patience with the Glazer’s hardball approach.

It said: “We have had productive conversations with potential investors in recent weeks which have reinforced our belief that it is wrong to offer above fair value, particularly given the urgent need for the club to reduce debt.

“That fair value is likely to be reducing over time given headwinds facing the game of football.”

Sources had expected a bid in the region of £1.2bn to be tabled but the latest statement appears to pour cold water on this.

Analysts do not expect the Glazers will even consider a bid of less than £1.5bn.