Gary Neville has suggested that he is “not opposed” to state-owned clubs as Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim attempts to buy Manchester United.
Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are leading the race to oust the Glazer family but it remains to be seen whether the club’s current owners will sanction a full sale.
The two businessmen have offered around £5bn but their respective bids are structured differently. Ratcliffe is willing to keep the Glazer family on board with a reduced stake, while Sheikh Jassim is only interested in a full takeover.
There have been three official rounds of bidding since the Glazer family announced last November that they were looking for new investors in Man Utd.
It was hoped that this takeover saga would have been finalised by now but it continues to drag on and it’s now being reported that Ratcliffe is ready to ‘modify’ his offer in an attempt to seal an agreement.
Neville thinks “United will be under greater scrutiny” than Newcastle or Man City if Sheikh Jassim’s offer is eventually accepted.
“I am not opposed to ‘State Clubs’,” Neville said during an interview with Marca. “I have not opposed Newcastle or Manchester City.
“I think United will be under greater scrutiny because the size of the club is enormous.
“The reality is that Abu Dhabi has owned Manchester City for 15 years, so I think the important thing in English football is the regulation of the owners, not only of the ‘state-clubs’, but also of the venture capital funds that are entering the Premier League to exploit English football.”
Neville added: “I hope the new owners can establish the right culture at the club and do the right thing to give Erik ten Hag the money needed to get the club back to where he needs to be.”
The Man Utd legend insisted earlier this year that the “nightmare scenario” for the club would be if the Glazer family “find strategic investment”.
“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 [Fenway Sports Group] have mentioned at Liverpool,” Neville said earlier this year.
“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.”