British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Manchester United, his spokesperson told The Times on Wednesday, after Elon Musk said his plan to buy the Premier League club was all part of “a long-running joke”.
Musk, the world’s richest person, said on Twitter that he wanted to buy England’s most successful club before clarifying that it was a joke and that he had no interest in purchasing any sports teams.
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The club’s owners, the American Glazer family, are under pressure with United sitting bottom of the Premier League after two games of the season. Bloomberg reported they would consider selling a minority stake, opening the door for Ratcliffe.
“If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,” Ratcliffe’s spokesperson said. “If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership.”
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The Glazers have been the target of intense criticism for their failure to invest in the team who have not won a trophy in five years.
Ratcliffe, head of chemical company INEOS, is from the Manchester area and a long-standing fan of the club.
“This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset,” the spokesperson added.
Ratcliffe failed this year in an attempt to buy London club Chelsea which was ultimately bought by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.