Manchester United owners the Glazers are demanding a world record fee for the club.
The Glazers, who put United up for sale on Tuesday, want as much as £8billion, dwarfing the £4bn fee agreed for NFL team the Denver Broncos – the world record for a sports franchise.
The figure demanded by the Glazers would also eclipse the £2.5bn Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea, which included an additional £1.75bn for further investments to benefit the club.
Having bought United for £790m back in 2005, the Glazers – who saddled the club with debt to facilitate the takeover – will make a mammoth profit if their asking price is met.
Despite naming their asking price, the Glazers may be forced to reduce that figure by as much as £2bn, with prospective buyers unwilling to pay way over the odds.
While the Glazer family are all said to be united in their desire to sell, co-chairman Joel Glazer is said to have had doubts about the decision to relinquish control.
But it is understood that he has been persuaded by his siblings and co-board members that the timing is right to sell and ensure they maximise their profit.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) called for any new owner to put the interests of the club first, rather than lining their own pockets like the Glazers.
MUST said: “Over the last 17 years Manchester United fans have been dismayed with the ownership of the club. Over that period we have witnessed a decline on the playing side and a decline in our stadium.
“Whilst supporters have long called for change, of course this has to be the right change. At this moment in time our club needs new investment more than ever. That requires new ownership.
“Any prospective new owner or investor has to be committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions of the club.
“They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium. Finally, any new ownership structure must embed supporters, including a degree of fan share ownership, in their operating model.
“Manchester United’s fans are its greatest asset and hold the key to unlocking the true value of any football club. That relationship has to be one of equals – sharing in ownership and unified with the same goals.”