MANCHESTER United co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer could be ready to use a US hedge fund to STAY at the club.

Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassin bin Hamad al-Thani, were among the bidders told last week they would be invited to meetings at Old Trafford for the next stage of the potential £6billion takeover.

Bryan Glazer, left is among the four brothers waiting to see if Avram and Joel, on the right, make another move in the Man Utd takeover saga


Bryan Glazer, left is among the four brothers waiting to see if Avram and Joel, on the right, make another move in the Man Utd takeover sagaCredit: AP

But behind the scenes there is increasing speculation that the two most prominent members of the Glazer family are seeking to engineer a buy-out of their siblings to ensure they remain at the United helm.

And that could spark a fan backlash in the wake of Sunday’s humiliation at Liverpool.

It has been known for weeks that Joel and Avram are the least-minded of the six brothers to sell up.

While the other four want to cash in, they are understood to feel that the club can add value with internal investment, including on the proposed Old Trafford replacement, making a future sale even more lucrative.

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That split within the family has been blamed by some analysts for the sales process – which started in November and has a deadline of the end of May – being on a go-slow.

And it has now emerged that there is a growing belief that the two board members are ready to get into financial bed with Los Angeles-based Ares Management to put together a deal their brothers will accept and to remain in charge at Old Trafford.

Ares, which has assets of a staggering £246bn, is one of four US hedge funds which has signalled its willingness to help finance a deal to run United.

New York-based Elliott Management, which made it clear it was seeking to fund a bid rather than take over the club itself, was the first out of the blocks.


Two other financial giants, Oaktree – which helped Chinese conglomerate Suning take over Inter Milan – and MSD Partners are also interested.

But the growing belief is that Joel and Avram are ready to partner with Ares to make an offer their brothers cannot refuse – and effectively park the proposed club sale for the medium term.

The potential involvement of Ares is something of which the two announced rival bidders are aware with a recognition that such a financial model would be in keeping with the general approach of the Californian outfit as investors rather than company owners.

So far the sale has been going at a glacial pace, with the second bidding stage meetings, expected to take place next week, only a precursor to the full demands of the potential owners.

There is surprise that it seems the Glazers’ chosen deal-makers, the Raine Group, want to eventually open up the club’s “data room” of financial information to each bidder in rotation, rather than simultaneously.

Issues such as tax, legal and property due diligence, existing contracts and player information will require huge dedicated teams of specialists to scrutinise before the bidders can come to a more fixed valuation.

There is also some feeling that if a sale was really at the forefront of the Glazers’ minds, they would have already chosen one “exclusive” bidder access to try to force an acceptable offer.

The Glazers have shown over nearly two decades that they are rarely moved by negativity from the club’s fan base although withdrawing the “for sale” boards now could bring the most sustained response yet.

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