Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s ambitious Manchester United transfer plans mean he could be about to break Erik ten Hag’s ‘Cristiano Ronaldo rule’ should he be handed the keys to Old Trafford. The Qatari group – spearheaded by Sheikh Jassim – remain locked in battle with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS as they await further communication from Raine on behalf of the Glazers.
Despite intense rumours and speculation, the Glazers are yet to have decided their preferred bidder, something that is yet to have been disclosed to either party.
Nonetheless, the noises coming out of Old Trafford suggest INEOS could be at the front of the queue but that hasn’t stopped the Qataris in their tracks as they remain desperate to win the battle for United.
That was evident when Sheikh Jassim submitted a blockbuster 11th-hour bid worth an estimated £5.5billon around eight days ago, in a last-ditch attempt to beat INEOS to the punch.
While Ratcliffe is willing to heavily back United in the transfer market, one of the key selling points of the Qatari’s takeover bid is that they want to restore United’s reputation as the best club in the world.
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In order to do that, they will seek to sign the world’s best players with Kylian Mbappe among those on their transfer wish list.
It’s also no surprise that transfer links to Neymar have emerged in recent days amid the exhausting takeover process, particularly given the chances of the Glazers dipping their hands into their pockets to sign the Brazilian are virtually minimal.
But should Sheikh Jassim execute signings of Mbappe’s magnitude, Ten Hag’s ‘Ronaldo rule’ would surely have to be dismantled within the first few transfer windows.
The ‘Ronaldo rule’ first came to light following a report from The Daily Mail, which explained that United were no longer handing out salaries worth over £200,000 per week.
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The idea was to restore a sense of control over the club’s inflated wage budget which was also causing them aggravation during contract discussions with current players.
Chief executive Richard Arnold is also seemingly keen to eliminate any feelings of jealousy from the dressing room when contracts are concerned.
Last September, reports disclosed that United had the highest wage bill – worth a whopping £384m – in the Premier League last season.
David de Gea was one of the first casualties as he would have to take a significant pay cut on his current £375,000-a-week salary in order to sign a contract extension.
It’s exactly why United are still yet to agree terms with the Spaniard, who would have to take a substantial wage cut in order to extend his stay.
Meanwhile, Mbappe’s new lucrative deal he signed at Paris Saint-Germain last summer reportedly sees him net significantly more than £1m per week in France – money United just won’t be able to compete with unless Sheikh Jassim is elected into power.
Neymar is said to earn between £520,000 and £600,000 per week at PSG and although there is believed to be nothing in reports linking him with United, Ten Hag refused to rule out a move for the 31-year-old when quizzed on reported interest earlier this week.
“When we have news… we will tell you,” Ten Hag said.
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