Football: Chinese investor eyes stake in Manchester United – report
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Football: Chinese investor eyes stake in Manchester United – report

MANCHESTER United could become the latest European football giant to come under Chinese ownership after a mystery buyer was reported to have expressed an interest in buying out some of the club’s shareholders.

The United Kingdom national Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Times, has reported that a buyer from China has contacted some of United’s independent shareholders in an attempt to purchase a holding in the Old Trafford club.

Negotiators, said to be working on behalf of a Chinese billionaire, have been in touch with several United shareholders in the past few weeks.

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The mystery investor may have been given encouragement to pursue a stake in the 20-times English champions by persistent rumours that certain members of the Glazer family would be open to the idea of selling a bigger chunk of the club.

The United States-based Glazers control around 80 percent of the club, with the rest being held by investment funds in the UK and US.

It is unlikely the club will be sold in its entirety any time soon, but The Sunday Times has reported that a sizeable chunk – around eight percent – was last week offered for sale by an American broker.

United have not won the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, and are preparing for their second season under Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho is the third permanent manager they have had since Ferguson’s exit four years ago, with David Moyes failing to see out a whole season season, and Louis van Gaal lasting two campaigns.

Despite their relatively shaky on-field performances, particularly in the league, the club remains one of sport’s most celebrated global sporting names.

The Chinese government owns 13 percent of United’s cross-city rivals Manchester City. Chinese investors, meanwhile, have a majority holding in both major Milan clubs and a range of English Championship teams and other clubs across Europe.