Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has confirmed his interest in buying Manchester United.
The 70-year-old’s chemical firm Ineos announced it had formally lodged interest with the club’s current owners, the Glazer family.
“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” an Ineos spokesperson said.
There have been other expressions of interest, with Saudi and other money from the Middle East understood to be focused on the club.
Mr Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, has made no secret of the fact he would be interested in buying the Old Trafford club.
He supported United as a boy and is understood to remain a fan.
Their tenure proved controversial with fans from the off because of the level of debt they placed on the club’s books, a burden which many argue has hampered investment in the team, stadium and wider facilities ever since.
Manchester United have struggled to get anywhere near the golden era of Sir Alex Ferguson since he stepped down as manager in 2013.
The club’s facilities, current manager Erik ten Hag and the attitude of the Glazer family were also criticised by Cristiano Ronaldo in his infamous interview with Piers Morgan.
“The Glazers, they don’t care about the club. I mean, professional sport, as you know, Manchester is a marketing club,” said the player.
The fallout led to the Portuguese star and Manchester United announcing that he was immediately leaving the club by mutual consent.
Mr Ratcliffe was among bidders for Chelsea when its ownership came up for grabs after the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine but his offer, of £4.25bn, was rejected under the sale process ordered by the government.
Roman Abramovich was given his marching orders for links to Vladimir Putin’s regime in Moscow.
Mr Ratcliffe is no stranger to big sporting investments.
He also owns cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, Ligue 1 side Nice, who he took over in 2019, and FC Lausanne-Sport, a Swiss Super League club.