Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has made a fifth, take-it-or-leave it offer for Manchester United in an attempt to break the deadlock over the club’s possible sale.
Sheikh Jassim has given United owners the Glazers until Friday to accept his improved bid or he will walk away from the long-running negotiations.
The move puts the ball back in the court of the Glazers and their bankers, the Raine Group, as they weigh up a rival offer from British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Sheikh Jassim is keen to clinch a takeover to allow enough time to prepare for next season. The Premier League transfer window opens next week and clubs are wrapping up deals already.
United, however, are still under a cloud of uncertainty almost seven months after the Glazers invited bids by announcing a strategic review.
Sheikh Jassim’s offer is for 100 per cent of the club and includes an additional $1bn commitment ringfenced for investment in the stadium, training ground and squad.
Ratcliffe’s is for majority control but gives the Glazers the option of retaining a minority stake. They currently own 69 per cent of United.
Despite Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe being the only two bidders for a majority stake, the Glazers have drawn out the process in apparent attempt to extract ever last penny.
The Americans, who bought United in 2005, are said to be seeking a deal that values the club at £6bn, while their two offers are believed to value them at closer to £5bn.