Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag is still ‘in the dark’ about his summer transfer budget, according to reports, as the Red Devils takeover saga rumbles on.
Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe are currently competing to complete a takeover of the club after both parties made their third bids by the April 28 deadline.
Sheikh Jassim has since made a fourth bid directly to the Glazers after he reportedly become concerned at reports that the Ratcliffe camp were confident they were winning the race to take control of the club.
And ESPN have now claimed that Man Utd are ‘pushing ahead with a bid to sign Mason Mount despite ongoing uncertainty over the club’s ownership’.
The Glazers have given the ‘green light to pursue Mount’ but ‘initial enquiries have prompted concerns about Chelsea’s valuation’.
Despite ‘optimism that a deal can be done’, Man Utd boss Ten Hag ‘is growing concerned about the rest of his summer transfer plans, in part because he remains in the dark about how much money is available for new players’.
‘Sources have told ESPN that both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim have senior management teams in place if their offers are accepted but any transition is likely to take time. The next step would be for Raine Group, the merchant bank working on behalf of the Glazers, to name a preferred bidder.’
And football finance expert Kieran Maguire has explained how the Glazers’ attempts to squeeze as much money as possible out of the bidders is behind the delay in completing a deal.
Maguire told the Stretford Paddock: “It would appear that the Glazers have turned into a bunch of hustlers. They are trying to extract a little bit more money from someone.
“Joel and Avram [Glazer] still want to have some form of control as well, so they’re trying to come up with a series of schemes that would allow them to have continuing involvement. They feel Manchester United is vastly undervalued by the markets, and therefore they want a share of any gain of value in future years.
“Why they can’t get round the table and thrash out a deal, I think is beyond most observers.”
On Ten Hag’s transfer budget, Maguire added: “The transfer window is about to open. Yes, there will be a budget because they qualified for the Champions League, so therefore money has gone into a pot for that.
“But if one of the prospective owners was hoping to spend a lot more money – and we’ve seen that happen at Newcastle, we saw that happen at City and at Chelsea and other clubs – if the deal drags on and on until we get to the wrong end of the window, then it becomes either more difficult or you get your trousers taken down in terms of the prices that selling clubs are going to be demanding.
“It becomes a seller’s market, and you end up paying premium prices. Manchester United have had that done to them too often. We saw that last summer, when a poor start to the season resulted in panic buys and paying over the odds.”