Liverpool has four advantages over Man United after Qatar decision and latest takeover twist


On Saturday evening, it emerged that Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim had withdrawn from the bidding for Liverpool's arch-rival Manchester United. He had previously seen a $6.1bn (£5.0bn/€5.8bn) bid rejected, and now talks have completely broken down.

The Glazer family, United's owners since 2005, announced in November last year that they were considering a sale, but now it seems more likely that they will only part with a minority stake. British businessman Jim Ratcliffe, who owns French club Nice, may now have a free run at an agreement after a long-term battle with Sheikh Jassim (via BBC Sport).

Many United supporters have voiced their opposition to the Glazer regime, whether through social media or protests around Old Trafford, but Saturday's developments appear to indicate that it will remain in place for a while yet. Here, Liverpool.com takes a look at the Reds' quadruple advantage over Erik ten Hag's side in light of the news.

Transfers — Sheikh Jassim planned to pump $1.7bn (£1.4bn/€1.6bn) into the club, and a significant chunk of that money would inevitably have been used to sign new players. The reality, though, is that United has already spent more than $1.8bn (£1.5bn/€1.7bn) since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, already ranking among the top clubs on the planet for spending power.

However, regime change would likely have meant structural change, and that's what United truly needs in order to compete. Indeed, its paltry trophy haul in the last decade — two League Cups, one FA Cup and a Europa League — points to the ongoing dysfunction of its recruitment operation.

Liverpool has had and should now retain a clear advantage in this regard, having won the league and Champions League in the same period despite spending around $600m less.

Stadium — Sheikh Jassim also planned to invest in Old Trafford, which is a stadium badly in need of renovation. It was even left off the list of venues for Euro 2028 in the UK and Ireland in anticipation of possible redevelopment work.

Club legend Gary Neville, an outspoken critic of the Glazers, accused the Americans of 'dereliction of duty' after they let 'one of the best stadiums in the world' become 'rusty' (via the MEN). Indeed, the Daily Mail has reported that the roof in the Sir Bobby Charlton is leaking, but the club is reluctant to commit to replacing it until it has clarity on the ownership situation.

It remains to be seen whether the Glazers do finally pump some money into Old Trafford, but they're already years behind FSG, which has taken the capacity of Anfield from 44,000 to 61,000 in the space of eight years by expanding the Main Stand and Anfield Road end, and modernized the stadium significantly too (or at least will have done when the latest delays are overcome).

Training ground — Similar to Old Trafford, the Glazers have been accused of allowing the club's Carrington training facility to become outdated too. Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær says it has been 'neglected' and urged United to 'catch up with the other teams' (via The Athletic).

One of those sides is no doubt Liverpool, which opened a new $61m (£50m/€58m) training ground in Kirkby in 2020. Jürgen Klopp was delighted with the new state-of-the-art base, calling it 'pretty much perfect' and adding that 'you have everything you need for now and the future' (via liverpoolfc.com). Again, this was a priority for Sheikh Jassim, but it certainly doesn't appear to be for the Glazers.

Debt — Figures for March showed that United's debt stood at a whopping $1.2bn (£970m/€1.bn), but Sheikh Jassim was planning to repay it at the outset as part of his proposed takeover. Liverpool's exact financials are not known, but its debt is many levels below that of its Premier League nemesis — before it bought back Melwood and signed four new players in the summer, it had reached $182m/£150m/€173m (according to The Guardian).

And even then, the Reds have already struck a deal to clear it, with FSG selling a minority stake to US investment firm Dynasty Equity. The proceeds will be used to pay off creditors and thereby improve the club's overall financial health.

United started exploring a sale last November, and it was around the same time that John Henry and co. started assessing the market. One process played out much more quietly than the other, and ended in a swifter resolution.

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