The Premier League outfit announced late Tuesday they were considering “all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.”

Analysts said the Glazer family could make around £5billion ($6 billion) from the sale of a club it spent £790 million to buy, largely with debt, in 2005.

British billionaire and United fan, Jim Ratcliffe, is seen as a front runner for the club, which has fallen behind English rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in trophies won and stadium modernisation.

Ratcliffe, who owns the Ineos chemical group, expressed interest in buying United after his unsuccessful bid for another Premier League team, Chelsea, in May. The London club eventually went for a world-record £2.5billion.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at SKEMA Business School, said interest would likely also come from outside the United Kingdom.

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“I can imagine that billionaires in South East Asia, from Malaysia or Indonesia where United have a lot of supporters, would be interested. That or a consortium of US investors,” he told AFP.

Chadwick added that the Glazers may believe the club has reached its peak value after Europe’s elite teams failed to win support for a Super League, and with United needing big investment.

“The Super League discussion will continue to rumble on, until it either happens or doesn’t, but these are harsh economic times and football is a high-cost industry,” he said.

United’s “Old Trafford (stadium) needs massive investment. We have seen Real Madrid and Barcelona take action to modernise their stadiums and in England, look at Tottenham who are now in a position to also make revenue from NFL matches.”

The Red Devils are also seeking a new star after announcing on Tuesday the immediate departure of Cristiano Ronaldo after his fallout with manager Erik ten Hag.

AFP

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