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As Glazers work on 2023 sale, are Man Utd worth more than £4 billion?

It’s been a long coming. The Glazers have finally decided to put Manchester United up for sale, hiring the Raine Group, a US investment banking firm, to orchestrate the takeover. 

Since completing a £790 million leveraged buyout in 2005, the Glazers have grown increasingly unpopular among the Red Devils’ loyal fanbase due to their incompetence in running one of the best clubs in the world. 

For years, Man United supporters have been vocal about their discontent with the current management structure at Old Trafford, frequently asking the owners to relinquish control. 

That could finally come to fruition, but several setbacks threaten to compromise the Glazers’ bid to sell the club to the highest bidder, including a staggering price the Raine Group has named.

After successfully helping the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich sell Chelsea for a record amount of £2.5 billion earlier this year, the Americans are now entrusted with flowing a substantially larger sum into the Glazers’ pockets. 

The Raine Group has slapped a monstrous asking price of between £6-7bn for the Red Devils, which would represent a massive return on the Glazers’ initial investment.

However, it’s another story whether they can achieve that price. Numerous factors indicate the American investment firm may have overvalued the club. 

It is still uncertain why the infamous Man Utd owners decided to renounce the club at this point, though it’s sure it’s not about fans’ protests regarding their grotesque management of the Premier League giant. 

As per Swiss Ramble, the Glazers may have been influenced by Newcastle United’s blockbuster takeover, seeing a window of opportunity to fill their pockets with bizarre figures. 

Let’s see one of the main sticking points to the Reine Group’s effort to sell United at such a lucrative price. 

Growing Debt

Man United’s gross debt has surged nearly 50% in the last two years to around £1bn, accounting for the club’s highest since 2010. 

Additionally, there’s no chance the potential investors would overlook a staggering £307m transfer debt, which is the highest ever in the Premier League. 

But the chief problem is that most of the club’s financial debt is denominated in dollars, as the pound has drastically weakened against the USD despite the recent rebound. 

Decreasing Cash Balance

Man Utd may be carrying a reputation as a ‘cash machine,’ but they have recently struggled to leave up to the billing, even though you could put it down to the global pandemic in recent years.

In the first quarter of 2022/23, the Red Devils reported a measly £24m cash balance, which is a significant markdown on the £308m they had in the fourth quarter of 2018/19.

So this cash machine looks to be running out of steam. 

Huge Investments Required

Whoever decides to buy Man United would have to commit to heavy investments, not just to reinforce the squad but to bolster the infrastructure. 

The Glazers cannot be accused of not investing in the transfer market, with the Red Devils splurging north of £1.5bn since 2015, yet it’s a whole different story how those funds have been allocated. 

You don’t have to look beyond the colossal figures dashed out on acquiring the services of Harry Maguire, Fred and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to understand the Glazers have the habit of cluelessly throwing the money around. 

However, it goes far beyond the management’s poor decision-making in the transfer market. Man United’s lucrative spending on reinforcing the squad has often come at the expense of the infrastructure.

Old Trafford may be boasting the largest capacity in the Premier League, with over 74,000, but there’s no arguing the stadium has seen better days and would do some modifications. 

While it remains one of the most iconic football venues on the planet, the Theatre of Dreams lags behind the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Etihad Stadium in terms of modern-day construction. 

On top of that, Cristiano Ronaldo explicitly mentioned the Carrington training facility in an infamous interview with Piers Morgan, pointing out it’s been the same since his first stint at the club.

Well, it’s not far from the truth, meaning the renovation of the training ground would also be on the list of expenditures for the new owners.