Man Utd takeover breakthrough as Sheikh Jassim 'granted exclusivity' in Jim Ratcliffe blow

Manchester United is reportedly in the process of 'granting exclusivity' to Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani that could see the Qatari-backed deal finally go through. The long takeover saga has been ongoing since both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe first lodged their initial bids back in February.

There's been frustration from supporters as well as the interested parties at the Glazers' handling of the process. And reports this week even indicated the Glazers still weren't 100 per cent sure on whether they wanted to sell or not.

There's been some suggestion the unpopular United owners would look to bring in minority investment to help fund much-needed improvements to Old Trafford. But it does appear as though the Glazers are edging towards a sale with Sheikh Jassim now emerging as the frontrunner.

Ratcliffe was seen as the first choice as recently as last week due to his overall bid valuing the club higher than Sheikh Jassim. The Qatari banker is bidding for 100 per cent of the club while Ratcliffe is only after 60 per cent, which gives the Glazers the opportunity to stay invested with United in some capacity.

But Reuters claim Sheikh Jassim is looking more likely to win the bidding war as United are 'negotiating granting exclusivity' to the Qatari consortium. It's said that talks are taking place for United's $6billion valuation to be met.

The report adds that the Glazers view the Qatari deal 'more favourably' than what Ratcliffe has put on the table. It's pointed out that United would not be able to negotiate with any party other than Sheikh Jassim during the 'exclusivity period'.

But it's also said that Ratcliffe hasn't been ruled out entirely and a new bid from Britain's richest man could put him back in the discussions. The report adds that 'situation remained fluid', suggesting nothing is far from agreed upon and there is no set timeframe on when a final decision will be made.

The delay to United's takeover could have a knock-on effect to United's summer transfer plans. The transfer window opened on Wednesday this week with Erik ten Hag desperate to make improvements to his squad.

And the Dutchman will want signings in place by the time most of his players are expected back from the start of pre-season training next month.

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