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‘Sheikh Jassim The Favorite To Buy Manchester United As Talks Begin; Qatari’s Representatives Due In Manchester On Thursday; Sir Jim Ratcliffe Poised For Discussions With Club On Friday’ – The Guardian Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani is emerging as the favourite to buy Manchester

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani is emerging as the favourite to buy Manchester United ahead of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, with each party due to hold its first face-to-face meeting with the club executive this week.

Representatives of Thani, a Qatari banker who is seeking to purchase United via his Nine Two Foundation, are expected to meet the hierarchy in Manchester on Thursday. It is understood Thani is currently the favoured bidder of the Glazers due, in part, to his potential to open up business opportunities in his region to the American owners.

There is also a sense that the Glazers have not yet warmed to Ratcliffe, the owner of Ineos, who is Britain’s richest person and is due to be at United on Friday along with advisers. He plans to travel after watching his club Nice play in the Europa Conference League on Thursday at home to Sheriff.

Thani is intent on buying 100% of United without taking on any debt, while Ratcliffe is thought to want only the Glazers’ 69% share, perhaps using investment. Elliott Investment Management, a US fund, does not want to buy the club but is ready to offer finance to a buyer.

Elliott was at Old Trafford last Thursday for the Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Real Betis, for the first face-to-face meeting regarding the sale.

Uefa’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, has said rules forbidding clubs with the same owners from playing in the same European competition could be dropped. Ineos owns Nice and Lausanne-Sport, and Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) owns Paris Saint-Germain. Thani says he is independent of QSI.

Ceferin told Gary Neville’s The Overlap YouTube channel: “We are not thinking about Manchester United only. We’ve had five or six owners of clubs who want to buy another club. We have to see what to do. The options are that it stays like that or that we allow them to play in the same competition. I’m not sure yet.

“We have to speak about these regulations and see what to do about it. There is more and more interest in this multi-club ownership. We shouldn’t just say no for the investments for multi-club ownership, but we have to see what kind of rules we set in that case, because the rules have to be strict.”

United announced on Wednesday that they would tour the US in the summer, with San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York thought to be destinations for a series of games.