Man Utd sale rumours: What are the most expensive takeovers in sport?

Members of the Glazer family watching on at Manchester United

With their popularity among fans at an all-time low, the Glazer family are reportedly prepared to sell Manchester United. However, if they are to part with the club, they won’t be doing so on the cheap.

Having lost both of their opening games of the Premier League season, the Red Devils find themselves rock bottom of the English top-flight – and supporters are laying the majority of the blame at the door of the Glazers.

United’s owners famously financed their takeover of the club by taking out substantial loans and have been accused of failing to adequately invest in both the playing squad and the broader infrastructure at Old Trafford.

A number of fan protests have been held against the Glazers in recent years, but none have ever looked likely to make the men in charge budge.

On Wednesday, however, Goal’s James Robson tweeted to reveal that he had been told “it would take around £6 billion to buy United” – suggesting that the Glazers would be willing to move on if the price was right.

If that £6bn asking price were to be met, it would officially be the most expensive sporting takeover in history.

Glazer out protests at Man Utd
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 18: Fans of Manchester United hold up “GO Glazers Out” signs prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford on May 18, 2021 in Manchester, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK following the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images)

At almost £5bn more than they paid for the club back in 2005, the price tag does seem steep, particularly given the sorry state that United are in right now.

Below, we’ve taken a look at the top 10 priciest takeovers in sport as they stand today. The £6bn that the Glazers are reportedly seeking for United would be enough to cover the first five deals on this list – with plenty of change left over.

Figures taken as per The Sun, Forbes and ESPN.

The top 10 most expensive sporting takeovers in history

=9. Seattle Mariners | Baseball | 2016 – £920m

=9. Miami Marlins | Baseball | 2017 – £920m

8. Buffalo Bills | NFL | 2014 – £1.07bn

Gabriel Davis scores a touchdown for the Buffalo Bills
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 23: Gabriel Davis #13 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates after scoring a 75 yard touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

7. Manchester United | Football | 2005 – £1.15bn

=5. LA Dodgers | Baseball | 2012 – £1.53bn

=5. LA Clippers | NBA | 2014 – £1.53bn

4. Houston Rockets | NBA | 2017 – £1.68bn

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta greets fans
HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 22: Owner Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets greets fans after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center on October 22, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

3. Carolina Panthers | NFL | 2018 – £1.76bn

2. Denver Broncos | NFL | 2022 – £3.86bn

1. Chelsea | Football | 2022 | £4.25bn

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 22: Chelsea owner Todd Boehly after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 22, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

While the Glazers’ 2005 takeover of United features in seventh place, Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly occupies two spots on the countdown.

The 48-year-old American businessman has been a co-owner of Major League Baseball franchise the LA Dodgers since 2012 and splurged over the summer to take over at Stamford Bridge.

Boehly, as part of Clearwater Capital, broke the £4bn barrier to assume control of the Blues and hasn’t been shy about spending over the summer either.

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Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella have all arrived in west London since the takeover went through – the exact kind of transfer activity that United fans would love to have seen from the Glazers.

The uncertainty around the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ won’t do much to convince potential new recruits to sign for United and it genuinely feels like change at the club is inevitable.

Whether a team who endured their worst ever Premier League campaign last season – and hasn’t won a top-flight title in almost 10 years – can attract a £6bn bid remains to be seen.

It’s serious money for a highly troubled club.

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