INEOS, a British chemical company owned by Billionaire and lifelong Manchester United fan, Jim Ratcliffe has formally entered the bidding process for the club.

Ratcliffe, considered Britain’s richest man with a net worth of around £9.8 billion, had already expressed interest in purchasing the club after the current owners, the Glazer family, announced their decision to sell a stake in the club but was turned down.

The formal bidding for United is not expected to begin until February but INEOS is the first of many interested parties in the Manchester club.

Ratcliffe will likely face competition from the United States, the Middle East and Asia as the 20-time English champions provide a prime once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity.

Ineos Group already owns Nice in France and the Swiss club Lausanne.

The Glazer family has owned United since 2005 but has fallen out of favour with the fans in recent times. United was one of the clubs responsible for the doomed European Super League and has failed to produce results worthy of the brand which expedited the tiff between the owners and the fans.

The club have not won a trophy since 2017 and last won the Premier League title in 2013, the year Alex Ferguson retired.

Around 10,000 fans joined a protest against the Glazer family’s ownership ahead of the 2-1 win over Liverpool in August.

American investment firm Raine Group, who handled Chelsea’s £4.25bn sale in May, is exclusively advising United as well. The Glazer family is confident of raising a world record fee for a sports team and believes they can attract offers of more than £6bn.