'Decaying Old Trafford' will drive Man Utd's sale price down

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 25 Nov 2022 10:05 GMT
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 25 Nov 2022 10:05 GMT 3 min read
Old Trafford, Man Utd's faltering home.

The Glazer family have made Manchester United available for sale, and are hoping to fetch a whopping €5.8 billion for any deal.

The Glazers have been in control of Man Utd since 2005 when Malcolm, the patriarch of the family, paid £800 million (€926.7m) - £500m (€5.79m) of it borrowed - to take majority control.

While the club have stayed active in the transfer market since, off the field things have slipped into decline, something the recently released Cristiano Ronaldo took aim at in his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

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"The progress was zero. Since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left, I saw no evolution in the club. Nothing had changed," he said. "The pool, the gym, the jacuzzi, the kitchen, the chefs, they were stuck in time. I saw the same things I saw when I was 22, 23."

And now Old Trafford stands a monument to owners who have been asleep at the wheel for 17 years, United's famous 74,310 capacity stadium falling into a state of disrepair. It is something that could affect their sale price.

"United would be a significantly more attractive proposition to investors if they already had a stadium to rival that of Tottenham [Hotspur's]," write the Telegraph. "Buying United would be a massively expensive enterprise even if there was not a new stadium and training ground to finance.

READ: Apple ready to make Man Utd the world's richest club

Chelsea example?

"The Glazers seem to be banking on a bidding frenzy like that which occurred for Chelsea, for whom Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital paid £2.5 billion (€2.91bn) with the guarantee of a further £1.75bn (€2.03bn) to invest in a new stadium to replace Stamford Bridge."

Tech giant Apple have been linked with a bid for United, as has Sir Jim Ratcliffe - one of the UK's richest men who might fold in club legend David Beckham as part of a consortium - and the outlay on a new stadium might prove to be small change for the new ownership.

But Old Trafford has also become an intrinsic part of United's identity, and the Red Devils remain the most marketable brand in the sport. And therein lies the true potential cost of moving stadium.