There are fresh doubts floating around Manchester United’s future today as it is rumoured that the Red Knights, a group of financiers and well heeled fans, may pull out of a bid for the club. The Red Knights bid is estimated to be in the £1.2 billion pound area, but rumours already have leaked that the Glazers consider it a significant underpricing, with the American family desiring a valuation much closer to £1.7 billion pounds.
It is not surprising to find the Red Knights trying to harness supporter anger and painting the Glazers as bullheaded owners trying to profit off the club fits nicely in that strategy. However, indirect pressure only goes so far. The Glazer family still holds all the keys to Old Trafford and have stated they have no intention to sell.
But, the Glazers cannot afford to dismiss the Red Knights entirely, nor would they want to do such a thing. With the club itself £500m in debt and the growing need for substantial transfer investment, the capital requirements of the club are ballooning while the family is on the hook personally for another £200m in Payment-In-Kind loans that are quickly ratcheting up to higher interest rates. Given the financial mess they are sitting on selling the club for an all cash payday would certainly not be an unwelcome outcome for the family.
I do not believe for a second that the Glazers are uninterested in selling and because of this it is vital that they keep the Red Knights on the hook. Talk of “fully committed” and “not for sale” are merely foreplay. The Red Knights want ownership of their favored club, the Glazers have many good reasons to sell. Both sides are now involved in a public duel, with each side jockeying for position and advantage. It remains to be seen who is going to concede on price but it will make for an entertaining summer when it comes to Manchester United.