Manchester United, the renowned English football club, has reportedly received a second bid from Qatar to buy the team. British media outlets, including the Press Association and the Guardian, announced that Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, submitted a second round offer overnight.

In addition to Sheikh Jassim’s bid, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus have also made offers to acquire ownership of the Old Trafford club. Although the initial deadline for submitting new offers was 2100 GMT on Wednesday, reports suggest that it has been extended.

While no official figures have been disclosed, it is believed that at least one of the initial bids was around £4.5 billion ($5.5 billion). Sky Sports News initially reported that Sheikh Jassim’s bid was worth approximately £5 billion ($6.12 billion), but later updates on its website did not mention the figure.

If the deal goes through, Manchester United, which has not won the Premier League in a decade, would become the most expensive sports club in history. However, this would still fall short of the £6 billion valuation reportedly placed on the club by its current US-based owners, the Glazer family.

Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe, founder of chemical giant INEOS, are currently the front-runners to purchase Manchester United should the Glazers relinquish control of the club. Meanwhile, Thomas Zilliacus, founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks, has entered the race with a bid that offers fans the opportunity to own 50% of the club.

The Glazer family has been a controversial presence since taking over Manchester United in 2005, burdening the club with massive debts and angering many supporters. They may ultimately decide against selling a controlling stake in the club, with other parties reportedly interested in acquiring a minority shareholding.

Source: TRT World