Ratcliffe pledges 'fan-centred' approach and Champions League focus after launching Man Utd bid

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Jim Ratcliffe has pledged to "put the Manchester back into Manchester United" after submitting a bid to buy the club through his chemicals company, INEOS, also targeting Champions League glory if his takeover is successful.

British billionaire Ratcliffe became the first suitor to formally register an interest in a takeover after the Glazer family announced in November the club had been put up for sale.

On Friday, which represented an apparent 'soft deadline' for offers to buy United, a bid led by Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Al Thani was made public.

Widespread reports then emerged that Ratcliffe had also tabled an official offer for the Red Devils, which INEOS confirmed with a statement on Saturday.

Should Ratcliffe succeed in gaining control from United's unpopular owners, the 70-year-old says he would make the Red Devils "a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership".

"We can confirm that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have submitted a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United Football Club," the statement read.

"We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community.

"We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.

"We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads. We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership.

"We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the North-West of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League."

Ratcliffe, who already owns Ligue 1 club Nice and made an offer to purchase Chelsea prior to Todd Boehly's takeover last year, is thought to be the preferred bidder of many United fans.

The Glazers' ownership of United has been the focus of fan protests for several years, with their initial takeover coming in the form of a leveraged buyout that saddled the club with huge debts.

United revealed their net debt increased from £419.5million to £514.9m in the year leading up to June 30, 2022 in their most recent accounts.