Manchester United are the targets of a £4.2bn takeover bid by a Saudi Prince The Sun have reported and, if the move goes through, it would mean a lot more than just a cash injection.
United fans have been protesting against their owners’ influence since the Glazers’ takeover in 2005, but it’s only been since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure that their presence has affected on-pitch performance. That turning point was the promotion of Ed Woodward from the business side of the club to the football side.
When David Gill retired at the time Ferguson did in 2013, the Glazers repaid a favour to Woodward, one of their most loyal businessmen. He helped the Glazers take control of arguably the biggest football club in the world, and the maths and share statistics involved in the move are complicated, and that’s why Woodward was so appreciated for the job he did.
The issue now is that Woodward is involved in a world he’s not used to – one not related to stocks and share prices, but the everyday running of Manchester United. He’s had some successes in the transfer market such as the acquisition of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but these have been more successful commercially than on the field.
His outright refusal of Jose Mourinho’s defensive wishlist in the summer reeked of arrogance on the businessman’s part because it made it look like he thought he knew what United needed more than one of the world’s most successful managers. Indeed, he seems to know if United need a new toilet roll partner but doesn’t have a clue about how United can become successful again on the pitch.
Despite his clear failings since taking the position, it seems the Glazers will never sack him from his position because of the favour they have towards him. When personal appreciation is put before the needs of the club, there is clearly an issue, and the only way to solve it would be for the owners to leave the club.
If Saudi prince Mohammad Bin Salman was to take over at the club, Woodward would be out of the door and a director of football implemented immediately. There’s already talk of the role being created in the summer, but if Woodward remains at Old Trafford, he’s certain to be sticking his nose in the new man’s business.
A takeover wouldn’t just mean cash injections from a filthy rich prince, but it would mean a hierarchical refresh that has been required since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Do you think a takeover would alter United’s fortunes?