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Feb 13, 2011

Glazers demanding too much for Utd

ESPNsoccernet has learned the Glazer family's £1.6 billion valuation of Manchester United is putting potential bidders off the deal and that the reported sale to Qatar Holdings is far from imminent.

• Qataris to buy United - report

The American owners of United would demand more than double the £790 million they paid for the club in 2005, which actually has risen to closer to £900 million with costs for legal advice, City advisors, and interest repayments on personal family loans.

An insider, with intimate knowledge of potential new owners making enquires for United, told ESPNsoccernet on Sunday: "There has been some interest from some quarters in Qatar, but not at the prices being quoted. Talk of £2 billion, £1.8 billion, even £1.5 billion is just wide of the mark.

"I have heard of interested parties who would offer £1 billion. I am equally sure there might be people, mad enough, to offer more, but as far as I know that has not happened, and I cannot see it happening. £1 billion for a football club, even Manchester United, is a vast amount of money."

Qatar Holdings, linked with a bid for United, are the investment branch of the Qatari royal family led by the Gulf state's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Another source who has had dealings with the royal family in Qatar told ESPNsoccernet: "While the old man is a big United fan, the son, is a Gooner, and from what the old man told me a little while back, he was not interested in the purchase of a football club, although, of course, he might have changed his mind."

Qatar Holdings already boasts a portfolio of assets in England that includes London's American Embassy and upmarket department store Harrods, which was purchased from Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed last year.

United's director of communications Phil Townsend has been approached by ESPNsoccernet on a number of occasions when rumours have been widespread but he has maintained that no offer has been made, and that none would be entertained. He has not moved from that stance.

He comments: "There has been no approach to buy Manchester United and no approach would be welcome."

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