Manchester United sale talks in new phase after Elliott Investment meeting

Manchester United’s potential sale has moved into its next phase after members of Elliott Investment Management, a US fund, were at Old Trafford on Thursday for the Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Real Betis.

It is understood this was the first face-to-face meeting regarding the Glazers’ proposed sale, with those from Elliott discussing their interest. The group does not want to buy the club but to offer finance to a buyer and has not yet decided which.

It could be Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest person, who has stated he may seek investment, but Elliott is open to any investor. It is thought representatives of Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Qatari banker who also wishes to buy United, will meet the club executive next week.

The victory over Betis featured several faulty passes by David de Gea but Erik ten Hag has insisted there are no concerns regarding the goalkeeper’s kicking, although Manchester United’s manager admitted the 32-year-old goalkeeper was working on this area of his game.

“From today I can’t ignore it, but we have seen many games in which he did really well,” he said. “I don’t know what the reason was. There was a lot of wind, a different ball, probably he had some problems with that, but I know we can deal with it and he will do better Sunday [against Southampton].”

Ten Hag was pressed on whether he had an underlying concern with De Gea’s kicking. “David is working on that but I think we have seen in this season that he is improving and he will keep improving, I’m sure,” he said.

Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, in discussion with David de Gea.
Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, in discussion with David de Gea. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Wout Weghorst, after missing chances, scored United’s final goal against Betis, his first at home and only a second since his loan signing in January. Despite this modest return the forward has started all 15 United matches since his arrival. Ten Hag explained why. “Because he is physically capable of playing a lot of games. He is a very fit player and he recovers very well. Did I expect it? I expected that he would play a lot but obviously we have an injury with Anthony Martial, so that’s the main reason he’s playing every game.”

Weghorst is playing mainly at centre-forward but Ten Hag also likes what the 30-year-old offers as a No 10. “He has intelligence in this position. He is a very good anticipator [of play]. I tell him of course to link up there, which he is also doing as a high striker, linking up and getting in front of the goal when crosses are coming in, and also the defending part he is very good at. He is doing well. As a striker or as a No 10 in the midfield, he is offering good performances.”

Martial may feature on Sunday. “He’s back in training but we will be cautious,” Ten Hag said.

The Guardian