A DEADLINE has been set for potential buyers to lodge their bids for Manchester United.
The Red Devils were put up for sale by the Glazer family in November after 17 years.
United have received plenty of interest, with British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe being joined in the race by Qatar this week.
US merchant bankers Raine, who are overseeing the sale, have set a February 17 deadline for offers to come in.
The Glazer family have been targeting an eye-watering offer of £6billion to sell the 20-time league champions.
But given the £2bn required for a buyer to renovate Old Trafford and Carrington, they may have to settle for less.
A fee in the region of £4.1-£4.5bn has been deemed more realistic.
February 17 is being viewed as a “soft” deadline, however, meaning that a better bid could later be lodged.
If the Glazers don’t feel they have been made a fair offer, they could instead sell a minority stake and retain control.
Boyhood United fan Ratcliffe, 70, has reportedly recruited Wall Street giants JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to try and get a deal done.
But Qatar will provide stiff competition.
Uefa laws prohibit Qatari Sports Investment (QSI) from buying United, due to their existing ownership of Paris Saint-Germain.
But the money driving Qatar’s Man United bid reportedly comes from an individual fund – rather than a sovereign wealth fund – meaning they would likely receive the green light.