BRITISH billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to buy Manchester United in a dramatic takeover.
Current owners the Glazer family are said to be open to selling a minority stake in the Premier League crisis club, which has a reported total value of £5billion.
And Ratcliffe, one of the richest people in Britain, would jump at the chance to invest in the Old Trafford side and take “full control”.
Ratcliffe – who is believed to be worth around £11bn – would even want to purchase the entire club if the Glazers decided to sell completely and is ready to pay what is required to overhaul the squad and modernise the crumbling 76,000-seater stadium.
A spokesperson said: “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer.
“If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership.
“This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent.
“Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”
Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton is desperate to oust the current owners.
He has joined with three billionaires to put pressure on the Glazers – and openly called on Ratcliffe’s support in the consortium.
Knighton told ITV: “They’ve damaged the brand. This is not personal against the Glazers, they just always had the wrong model.
“[My consortium?] They are small-time billionaires that I have been speaking to for three to four months now.
“We are not the great Sir Jim Ratcliffe. We do not have those resources. We are not some nation-state sovereign fund who has oil revenue of two billion a day.
“If we can smoke the great Sir Jim out to buy Manchester United my consortium will be punching the air because we’ve achieved what we want to do.”
However, The Times report Ratcliffe “tends to seek full control” of any business he invests in – and therefore may be reluctant to be part of Knighton’s group.
Ratcliffe grew up on a council estate in Manchester and made his money as CEO of Ineos, the multinational chemical company.
His worth is now said to have dropped to around £6bn and he was ranked 27th in the 2022 Sunday Times Rich List.
The 69-year-old, who is a Red Devils supporter, failed in a last-ditch bid to buy Chelsea earlier in May.
IN-EOS THE KNOW
But he already has experience in sport.
In 2017, he purchased Swiss top-flight football team FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017.
Then two years later he bought Nice in France and also pumped money into cycling’s Team Sky – rebranding them as Team Ineos.
Ineos have also sponsored Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team and the Mercedes F1 team.
The news of Ratcliffe’s interest in United comes hours after fans got excited about Elon Musk’s tweet suggesting he would try and convince the unpopular Glazer family to sell.
But the Tesla chief then let them down again by confirming it was a joke.
However, the interest from Ratcliffe sparked joy among supporters at the prospect of seeing the back of the Glazers.
The Tampa-based family – led by brothers and co-chairman Avram and Joel – have sparked widespread fury for their running of the club since their 2005 takeover.
Things on the pitch are miserable, too.
United lost their first two games of the season under new boss Erik ten Hag – to Brighton and Brentford – and sit bottom of the league.
Fan account United Faithfuls tweeted: “If Sir Jim Ratcliffe succeeds in buying Manchester United, we will celebrate it more than we celebrated the treble in ’99.”