The Scotsman’s 2013 departure sent United into a spiral. The Glazer family ownership have constantly been criticised for their decisions since and the club are yet to win the Premier League or the Champions League in the post-Ferguson era.
British billionaire Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group are widely expected to pay around £1.25bn for a 25 percent stake in the club, while also taking significant control of United’s footballing operations.
INEOS also own Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport and French outfit Nice as well as the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team and INEOS Britannia - the sailing team led by Sir Ben Ainslie. Ratcliffe was also interested in purchasing Chelsea in 2022.
A deal is believed to be imminent a year after the Glazers announced they were considering “strategic alternatives”, which included a potential sale.
Both Ratcliffe and Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani emerged from a large field of interested parties and made bids worth around £5bn for a complete takeover.
Such offers, however, fell some way short of the Glazer family’s valuation and Sheikh Jassim ultimately pulled out of proceedings.
Ratcliffe, born in Oldham and a boyhood United fan, continued to pursue a minority stake and a deal is thought to be close to completion.
Sir Alex Ferguson, in an interview courtesy of Gambling Zone said: “I am still a director of the club and I know Jim [Ratcliffe] well. We shall have to see what he does but I am optimistic.”