Sheikh Jassim examining Manchester United books as Ratcliffe visits club

<span>Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s financial experts are examining Manchester United’s accounts before making a second bid for the club, with no guarantee this will constitute an increased offer.

The Qatari banker’s advisers are assessing the books after visiting the club on Thursday and holding constructive discussions with the United hierarchy, which was headed by the CEO, Richard Arnold. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the only other publicly declared bidder, was at Old Trafford on Friday for his talks.

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Thani’s first offer was of at least £4bn, and was neither accepted nor rejected by the Glazers. This is because it was an indicative bid which, along with evidence of funds, was part of a process that has allowed his representatives access to United’s accounts.

There had been doubts from the Qatari’s advisers that all six Glazer siblings, who own 69% of United, were committed to selling but these have reduced after Thursday’s meeting. There is a view that the Americans are serious about completing a sale before the start of the summer transfer window.

The size of Thani’s second offer, which should be made in just over a week at the latest, will be determined once examination of the accounts is complete. It is understood Thani does not intend to take any profit from the club but to reinvest this in United via his Nine Two Foundation, the vehicle though which he hopes to make the purchase. Sheikh Jassim views the purchase as a long-term project.

Ratcliffe was accompanied by his Ineos co-owners Andy Currie and John Reece, and Sir David Brailsford, the director of sport at Ineos Sport, when he attended a presentation led by Arnold. United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, said he had met and shaken hands with Ratcliffe. On Friday supporters displayed a “Qatar in Glazers out” banner at the training ground.