United released a statement on Tuesday night announcing that the Glazers were seeking new investment either through a partial or full sale of the club, raising the prospect of the Americans ending their controversial 17-year ownership.
Sources said that, while all avenues would be explored and the Glazers were open to minority investment if it represented the right strategic partnership and value, there would be a reluctance to relinquish control of the club without a full sale. The family has been majority shareholders of Manchester United since 2005, and Joel and Avram Glazer are co-chairmen of the club.
Although the news comes hardly a fortnight since it emerged that Fenway Sports Group, fellow architects in the failed European Super League plot last year, were looking to offload Liverpool, the Glazers have been looking into a sale of United for months. “I would say this goes back to the summer,” one source said, adding that news of United’s availability could put a “spike” in the Liverpool process.
Sources close to Qatar Sports Investments, meanwhile, have categorically ruled out any interest in United, telling Telegraph Sport long-term commitments remain at European rivals PSG.
The American billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise and minority shareholders in Crystal Palace, were among those who bid for Chelsea.
There have been estimates in recent months that the Glazers – whose ownership has seen gradual decline on the pitch and triggered mass protests by fans – could seek as much as £8 billion or £9 billion for United but sources would only say: “This is a club that has enormous potential”.