Ratcliffe has 'foot in the door' for Man Utd takeover, but Glazers may not go quietly
Finance expert Dan Plumley believes Jim Ratcliffe may have a long-term plan to assume full control at Old Trafford.
Jim Ratcliffe's bid to purchase a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United could serve as a "foot in the door" ahead of a potential full takeover in the future, unless the Glazer family see a way to extract further value from the Red Devils.
That is the view of finance expert Dan Plumley, who believes United could realistically be valued at up to £7billion in the coming years.
A deal for Ratcliffe's INEOS group to purchase a stake in the club is believed to be close to completion, with the deeply unpopular Glazer family opting against a full sale despite fan pressure.
Ratcliffe was initially rivalling Qatar's Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani for a full takeover, and though the British billionaire will now only acquire a minority share, he will reportedly be given full control of United's football operations.
Speaking exclusively to Stats Perform, Plumley suggested Ratcliffe may have his eyes on a future full takeover, which would be warmly welcomed by the club's disgruntled fanbase.
"I think you can still get significant control in operations for 25 per cent, there's been talk that would give him an even further level of control, potentially above just the stakeholders," Plumley told Stats Perform.
"You're still very much involved in the decision-making process. At that level, you have considerable power. Then you're looking at the bigger picture of potentially what comes in the future.
"So, if it's not quite working out that way, does that open up the door for maybe a full takeover in the future? I think there are options still on the table.
"If you are Jim Ratcliffe and that's the long-term plan, then getting your foot in the door for 25 per cent is not a bad way to build it."
However, Plumley also believes the Glazers – who have received fierce criticism for taking dividends from the club and overseeing a period of on-pitch decline – see reasons to stay put.
"I think in the back of the Glazers minds – whether or not they'll come out and say this publicly – they're aware that there is still value to be extracted from Manchester United," he said.
"If they're seeing the potential for growth in the market then they might be wanting to stick around a little bit longer to realise some of that growth in the future.
"I think this kind of deal probably benefits all parties at this point in time. That might not please everybody, but I think from a business point of view, you can see the narrative there."
During the bidding process, reports suggested the Glazers valued United at around £6billion, and Plumley believes that could rise further over the next few years.
"People talk about Manchester United being a £5billion business, which is based on the numbers and the balance sheet and the position that we can see," he said.
"But what you've got to overlay over the top of that is the brand of Manchester United, the baggage, the history, the heritage and the fact that it is Manchester United.
"Then you've got other things on top of that, the untapped potential in different markets. What clubs have not been able to do yet is extract a lot of direct value from those fans.
"If you imagine a model whereby you can start to get money from fans all around the world through selling your own subscription services or the TV market changing so that you can sell some of your own games.
"If you can start to convert that into real cash, then the value of the club only goes up. It's quite feasible then that you can get to a valuation of £6billion or £7billion for Manchester United.
"I think that's what the Glazers are aware of. It's certainly feasible for me. There is some possibility there that you can grow that brand in the future, and in turn, then grow the value."