Manchester United’s owners said on Tuesday they were ready to sell the club, potentially bringing the curtain down on the past 17 years under the Glazer family.
In a turbulent day for the British giants, it was previously revealed that star player Cristiano Ronaldo left the club with “immediate effect”.
Weeks of turmoil seemed to be over when United announced that his contract was terminated by mutual agreement to end Ronaldo’s second spell at Old Trafford.
This dramatic announcement was overshadowed by the news that the US-based Glazer family could also leave just hours later.
“The board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment in the club, a sale or other transaction involving the company,” United said in a statement.
The Glazers have been unpopular with fans since a leveraged takeover of £790m ($934m) in 2005 placed huge debts on the club.
Frustration with the Americans has only increased during the nine-year decline in on-court results since Alex Ferguson retired from the coaching position in 2013.
The Red Devils have not won a Premier League title since Ferguson’s last campaign in 2012/2013 and have not won a trophy since 2017.
United are currently in fifth place in the Premier League, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.
“We will consider all options so that we can best serve our fans and maximize the significant growth opportunities that the club has today and in the future,” said Avram and Joel Glazer, the club’s co-chairs and directors.
The statement also acknowledged the need for investment in the redevelopment of the stadium.
Old Trafford remains the largest club stadium in England with a capacity of 74,000, but has not had any major upgrades since 2006.
Ronaldo is leaving
Erik ten Hag became the fifth permanent manager at Old Trafford in the past nine years, and his first months on the job were marked by controversies over Ronaldo’s place on the team.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was used sparingly by the former Premier League Ajax boss.
Ronaldo reacted with an explosive interview last week on TalkTV in which he said he felt “betrayed” by the club and had no respect for Ten Hag.
The Portuguese captain, currently in their fifth World Cup, also took aim at the Glazers, claiming they “didn’t care about the club”.
“Cristiano Ronaldo will, by mutual agreement, leave Manchester United with immediate effect,” United said in a previous statement.
“The club thanks him for his tremendous contribution scoring 145 goals in 346 games in his two spells at Old Trafford and wishes him and his family well in the future.”
The news that the Glazers had invited the investment came just weeks after Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group indicated they were willing to sell.
Both United and Liverpool were involved in the failed European Super League (ESL) project, which sought to create a US-style indoor league format for Europe’s elite clubs without qualifying or needing promotion and relegation.
Amid a violent backlash against ESL, a match between United and Liverpool in May 2021 was interrupted after fans rushed onto the pitch at a time when fans were closed to stadiums due to coronavirus restrictions.
Protests against the Glazers continued to be common on matchdays at Old Trafford, despite huge expenditures on player transfer fees and salaries, including Ronaldo’s return home.
In May, Premier League rivals Chelsea were sold to another American consortium led by Todd Boehly for a record £2.5bn ($3bn) for a football club, with an additional £1.75bn investment promised in the playing staff and infrastructure.
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