Sheikh Jassim ‘makes decision’ on submitting fifth bid for Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been dealt a further blow following Sheikh Jassim’s 11th-hour bid for Manchester United as reports suggest a fifth proposal cannot be ruled out from the Qataris – despite suggestions their latest bid is a ‘take it or leave it’ offer. The Glazers are yet to inform Raine of their final decision as they continue to weigh up their options but it appears the enthralling Old Trafford takeover race is far from over following Tuesday’s surprise swing of the pendulum.

Earlier this week, the Qataris are understood to have tabled an improved fourth bid centred around a 100 per cent purchase of the club that clears all debt.

It also included a separate fund for the community, transfers and improving the infrastructure including Old Trafford and Carrington.

While that could still fail to prove enough given the appeal of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposal would enable both Joel and Avram Glazer to remain on board as stakeholders, it appears that Qataris are prepared to do everything within their power to maximise their chances of winning the takeover battle.

The Athletic are now reporting that while many feel this is the last throw of the dice from the group fronted by Sheikh Jassim, they aren’t giving up by any stretch of imagination.

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The report even indicates that it’s not set in stone that this is their final bid as it depends on what feedback they receive from the Glazers.

That said, it’s thought there has been minimal contact between the Qataris and Raine since they submitted their third proposal before the previous deadline.

Furthermore, there are also mumblings that Raine is concerned that they have not heard enough directly from Sheikh Jassim himself.

Given he is an integral figure behind the Qatar-backed takeover bid, ideally Raine would like to see his commitment to the project and ambition reflected with direct involvement within the process.

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Last week, it was claimed the Qataris were unflinched by suggestions that Ratcliffe’s INEOS were currently leading the race after being tipped as the Glazers’ preferred bidders.

But given the Qataris have now responded with a fourth bid, it would suggest there was concern that their previous third proposal wasn’t strong enough to close a deal.

Ratcliffe has previously made it clear he does not want to get drawn into a bidding war for United after declaring he will not pay over the odds for the club as he continues to chase his dream.

He has faith that his alternative structure and fan-oriented ownership model could prove the difference in his quest to oust his rivals.

United boss Erik ten Hag does not appear to be concerned the ongoing takeover discussions could prove detrimental to the club’s summer transfer plans.

“It’s not up to me, it is an aspect of the club that other people deal with, the owners,” Ten Hag said after the Red Devils beat Wolves 2-0 in the Premier League last weekend.

“I have to develop and to progress the team, and to of course plan. I will go for high standards, so I am planning my squad for next season in the background, with high standards. Then it is up to the others to decide if the finances are there.”

There is internal confidence that United are well equipped for the summer transfer window – regardless of whether new owners will be coming into power at the end of the season.

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