The Glazer family do not want to sell Manchester United, according to prospective buyer Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe, who made a bid to buy Chelsea in the summer, has registered an interest in acquiring United but on Tuesday said the club is not for sale.
The head of chemical company INEOS and Britain’s richest man with a reported worth of £9.8 billion, Ratcliffe said he is still in the market for a “premier” football club but added that he would not wait around “for Manchester United to become available.”
“Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family, whom I have met,” Ratcliffe, a lifelong United fan who grew up in Manchester, told the Financial Times at an event on Tuesday.
“I’ve met Joel [Glazer] and Avram [Glazer] and they are the nicest people, I have to say.
“They are proper gentlemen, really nice people, and they don’t want to sell it. It’s owned by the six children of the father and they don’t want to sell it.
“If it had been for sale in the summer, yes, we would have probably had a go following on from the Chelsea thing but we can’t sit around hoping that one day Manchester United will become available.”
The Glazers have faced deep supporter opposition to their ownership at Old Trafford since their leveraged takeover in 2005, including regular protests at matches. Around 10,000 fans joined a demonstration ahead of the 2-1 win over Liverpool in August.
United have not won the Premier League title since 2013 and have not won a trophy of any kind since lifting the Europa League in 2017. They finished sixth last season, missing out on a place in the Champions League.
“The answer about the performance of Manchester United is a simple one,” added Ratcliffe, who already owns French club Nice and Swiss side Lausanne.
“The biggest correlation in success in football is money, without question. It’s not the only correlation because you’ve got outliers like Brighton. But if you’ve got the highest revenues, you can afford the best players and play the best football.
“Manchester United was one of those top three clubs with Barcelona and Real Madrid. A few more have joined that club with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Liverpool are a little bit closer.
“But Manchester United are not playing in that league of those other teams at the moment and haven’t done for quite some years since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down [in 2013].
“So they’re not firing on all cylinders, that’s my point on performance.”