Multiple sources are reporting that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has withdrawn his bid to buy Manchester United, so businessman Thomas Zilliacus is asking him to ‘join forces and buy a big Italian club’, specifically Inter.
Negotiations to take over Manchester United have dragged on for months, with many beginning to believe the Glazer family have no intention of selling at all.
Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim had offered £5bn, but when talks broke down he pulled out of the process, leaving only Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the running to buy a minority stake in the Red Devils.
In the early days of the process, Ziliacus had also been one of those looking at the possibility of a bid to buy United, but he has been focused in recent months on approaching Serie A side Inter.
He made an intriguing and very public statement on the matter this evening via the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
“I’m glad to see you’ve come to the same conclusion I did a few months ago. Now let’s join forces and buy a great Italian club and make it the best in the world!” Zilliacus wrote in the post attached to a photo of the news of Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal from United’s purchase.
Ziliacus added a series of hashtags, including SerieA and the Nerazzurri – confirming he was referring to Inter.
Inter’s current owners, Suning Group, were only able to keep Inter alive with the help of a high-interest loan from Oaktree Capital, and this will expire in April 2024.
It is increasingly likely that they will need to sell at least some of the shares before then to raise funds, although the Zhang family appears keen to retain a controlling stake.