Exclusive: Qatari interest in Manchester United is genuine but complicated and not advanced

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Reports recently claimed that Qatari investors were interested in buying Manchester United. 

Manchester United fans have been calling for new investors for some time now as they urge the Glazers to sell the club. Despite spending significantly in recent years, they could be left behind the likes of Chelsea, Newcastle and Manchester City in terms of financial backing if they don’t find owners willing to pump more money into the club.

Ben Jacobs has had his say on the Manchester United takeover in his weekly column for CaughtOffside, and it’s not as straightforward as many may think.

What’s important to understand is a takeover is not like a transfer. You don’t just swoop in with a bid. Due diligence informs valuation, and with multiple suitors, there’s potentially a bidding war aspect which is not usually associated with a traditional takeover.

The Qatar interest is complicated because any group or individual would still effectively (even if not formally) need government and Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) backing. That’s just how business works out there, which I know first-hand from living there,” said Jacobs.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

A lot of work has to go into taking over a club and with a deadline set by the Glazers in the middle of February, things may not be as simple as they seem.

Despite the genuine interest, it’s not guaranteed that a deal will completely materialise and Jacobs has hinted that it may not be time to get excited just yet.

There is a real feeling it’s a big year ahead for Qatar in sports investment. But multiple sources still say it’s “premature” to call anything advanced between Qatar and Manchester United yet, although there is a broad acceptance different investors are circling. But interest, or even entering the process, doesn’t necessarily mean anything concrete will materialise,” added Jacobs.

Manchester United fans will be desperate for a deal to materialise before the end of the season and allow the club to back Erik ten Hag in the summer.