David Beckham Could Help Buy Manchester United

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Posh and Becks and banks.

David Beckham is open to talks with potential bidders for his old club Manchester United, sources told the Financial Times. Man U’s current owners are an American family called the Glazers, and during their 17-year tenure they have done little to ingratiate themselves with the fans, thousands of whom staged a major protest against the ownership in August.

Spend It Like Beckham

US business tycoon Malcolm Glazer bought Man U in 2005 for £750 million. That deal was primarily financed through loans against the club’s assets, meaning Man U took on £500 million in debt. Glazer died in 2014, but he had already loaded the club’s board with his children (can you hear the Succession theme-tune playing?).

Beckham doesn’t have the funds to buy the club himself, but he can join forces with potential bidders to give them an edge. Exactly how much Man U might go for remains up in the air:

  • The Glazers have valued the club at up to £7 billion. It’s an ambitious figure given it was most recently valued at £3.75 billion, but the sale of fellow Premier League club Chelsea for £4.25 billion in May gives them some leverage.
  • One banking source told The FT the club could fetch the desired price, but football finance experts were more skeptical saying even £4 billion would be pushing it given the club failed to make a profit last year.

The Shadow of Qatar: Beckham’s UK PR is currently a bit of a mess. Although he features in a highly-publicized and heart-warming Disney+ documentary called Save Our Squad, he has also received fierce backlash for his partnership with Qatar, promoting the country amid its various World Cup controversies. Criticism was stoked by UK comedian Joe Lycett, who pretended to shred £10,000 in protest. It later transpired Lycett had played a trick, and instead donated the money to LGBTQ+ charities — a pretty clever tactical dive.