The Qatar Investment Authority is interested in buying a stake in Manchester United and has not ruled out a full takeover.
QIA, which owns Harrods as well as significant shareholdings in Heathrow Airport and Sainsbury’s, has not made an offer for United yet.
But it is one of the Qatari parties mulling an offer to the Glazer family before the Friday 17 February deadline set by bankers the Raine Group.
Qatar is understood to be very ambitious to make an investment in the Premier League.
Qatar Sports Investments, which owns French club Paris Saint-Germain, held talks about buying a minority stake in Tottenham Hotspur.
But QSI is not seeking a majority stake or full takeover of a Premier League team, which could cause complications in European competitions.
Uefa does not permit two teams with the same owners to compete in the Champions League.
Sources said QSI remains committed to PSG, who it has turned into one of Europe’s most powerful clubs since acquiring them in 2012.
QIA, the country’s main sovereign wealth fund, is a different entity to QSI, although both are state vehicles and QSI chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi sits on QIA’s board.
The Glazer family, who have owned Manchester United since 2005, are said to want around £6bn for a full takeover of the club.
Other bidders are set to include Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the British boss of chemicals giant Ineos, who also owns sporting properties in cycling, sailing, rugby union and French football.
Ratcliffe previously dealt with Raine when bidding for Chelsea last year, although his 11th-hour offer did not go down well with the US merchant bank.
Qatar has been encouraged to increase its investment in football after hosting the World Cup in November and December.
“We have not made our mind yet but this is a very commercially driven decision that we go through and sport is becoming a very important theme,” QIA chief executive Mansoor al Mahmoud told Bloomberg last month.
“People are engaged more in sport and digitisation is making it more attractive to investors.”