Clause handing Ratcliffe control of sporting matters explains why Ineos owner willing to pay estimated £1.35bn for 25 per cent co-ownership.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe will take control of footballing operations in an attempt to remove the Glazers from the firing line in his proposed 25 per cent Manchester United co-ownership deal, Telegraph Sport understands.
Under terms close to being agreed by key parties, the controversial American owners would remain at the club but take back seats amid efforts to calm the mood among fans.
A clause handing Ratcliffe control of sporting matters also goes some way to explaining why the Ineos owner is willing to pay an estimated £1.35 billion, a significant premium on market valuations, for just a quarter stake.
His proposed deal is now moving rapidly after Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, his only realistic rival, quit talks citing frustration at the Glazers’ valuation. One interested party claims an agreement with Ratcliffe could now be voted by key club figures this week although other insiders said a deal could yet be delayed.
There is little doubt, however, that Ratcliffe is now closer than ever to shaking hands on a proposal which has been revised in the last month. As previously detailed by Telegraph Sport, Ratcliffe also wants clauses attached to any deal which will enable him to eventually stage a full takeover, his long-term aim.
About 69 per cent of United is owned by the American family, the rest spread among multiple stakeholders who own shares listed in New York. With complexities to overcome around the club’s structure, Ratcliffe had repeatedly promised the Glazers he could be more agile than Sheikh Jassim in overcoming potential hurdles.
Sources on both sides of the deal played down suggestions that a deal had already been done with Ratcliffe. One added that final negotiations could yet “change the dynamic”.
A deal between Ratcliffe and the Glazers took a major step forward after Sheikh Jassim ran out of patience with a 10- month saga. The Qatari banker had tabled a 100 per cent offer, with a fifth bid on June 7 understood to have exceeded £5 billion. Talks since June continued sporadically, but the Qatari, who believed the Glazers wanted closer to £6 billion, has told them privately he is walking away.