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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent minority stake in Manchester United remains entirely dependent on outlining a “genuine path to majority control”, and long negotiations with the Glazers over that could yet mean contractual confirmation on the deal is some way off.
The club board are still set to vote on whether to move forward with the Ineos proposal this week, but it has been stressed to The Independent that nothing has yet been agreed outside the broad principle.
Sheikh Jassim’s much publicised withdrawal has led to understandable expectation that Ratcliffe is now virtually certain to secure a stake, but there is even a fear that the Glazer’s willingness to accept a minority could now bring more competitors.
Ratcliffe had settled on the strategy of going for a minority stake as long as six months ago, and it was felt that it was already clear that Avram and Joel Glazer would not countenance a full sale.
That has seen him outmanoeuvre Qatar, but there is still considerable negotiation to be done, as this route was only seen as a “way in”.
Issues such as football control are similarly dependent on such a pathway, although Ineos has already drawn up potential plans for what a new football structure could look like.