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Jim Ratcliffe jets in for Manchester United buyout talks

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Jim Ratcliffe toured Manchester United on Friday as part of his bid to buy the English soccer club.

The billionaire owner of INEOS jetted in for talks with club executives at Old Trafford, along with some of his closest advisors.

Ratcliffe was greeted by United chief executive Richard Arnold on Friday morning and briefly met with manager Erik ten Hag at the club’s Carrington training base.

“I just met them and shook hands,” Ten Hag said at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarterfinal match with Fulham. “We play a big game on Sunday and all our focus is on that. Others in the club are dealing with potential investors.” Ratcliffe posed for photographs at Old Trafford before heading to Carrington in a car with blacked out windows.

He is getting a closer look at United before submitting a formal offer to current owners the Glazer family.

Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest people and is bidding to buy a majority share of the 20-time English league champions. His meetings come as the potential sale enters its next phase after bids were submitted via American merchant bank Raine last month.

Ratcliffe’s delegation included Dave Brailsford, the director of sport at INEOS.

Representatives of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani met with United executives on Thursday. The chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and son of a former Qatari prime minister is aiming to take 100% ownership of United and has plans to invest in the stadium and training ground.

Ratcliffe has said he would take a “fan-centered approach” to ownership and that he is “focusing on winning the Champions League.”

It is still not certain if the Glazers will cede total control of United as it considers “strategic alternatives.”

The American family, which also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, bought United in 2005 and has resisted repeated attempts from fans to drive them out.

Last year, Raine handled the sale of Chelsea to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for about $3 billion.

United is estimated to reach up to $6 billion.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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