Armancio Ortega, the founder of clothing brand Zara and the 19th richest man in the world, has reportedly thrown his hat in the ring to buy Manchester United.
United’s current owners, the Glazer family, put other billionaires on the alert earlier this week when they announced they are now ready to sell the club.
Now the Manchester Evening News have reported extensively that Ortega has “already spoken to Old Trafford executives” to express his interest in buying United.
On a day when it was revealed that Apple is interested in buying Manchester United in a £5.8billion deal, news of Ortega’s reported interest will intrigue supporters desperate for the end of the Glazers -want to see domination.
Ortega is 86 years old and is said to be worth $61.3 billion according to Forbes billionaires list.
The Spanish fashion billionaire has no experience running a sports team and has instead made his money in real estate and fashion.
He owns 59 percent of the clothing empire Inditex, which he founded in 1975, and last year appointed his daughter Maria Ortega Perez to chair Zara.
Ortega, who has three children, would represent a shift from the Glazer family, who have owned Manchester United since 2005.
However, there is expected to be plenty of competition for United as they remain one of the most lucrative companies in all of sport.
Alongside news of Apple’s interest, first revealed by the Daily Star, there is a A number of high profile individuals who have shown an interest in taking on responsibilities.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk jokingly wrote on the platform this summer that he was buying the club, with the 51-year-old’s post garnering more than 800,000 likes.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor has also thrown his hat in the ring after previously expressing interest in taking over the club.
The 34-year-old took to Twitter following the European Super League announcement in April last year, writing: ‘Hey guys I’m thinking about buying Manchester United! What do you think?’
Any potential deal would almost certainly become the most expensive football club takeover in history, surpassing the £4.25billion fee a consortium led by Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea earlier this year.
A big concern for anyone buying United is Old Trafford, the club’s iconic stadium. The venue took a long time to refurbish to compete with the biggest clubs around the world.
The stadium is expected to cost around £1.5bn to rebuild, making it the most expensive football stadium in the world – ahead of Tottenham’s new £1bn stadium.
United moved into the ground – dubbed the ‘theater of dreams’ by fans around the world – in 1910 and have called it home ever since. The stadium was last renovated between 2005 and 2006, adding 8,000 seats.
Red Devils legend Gary Neville has backed calls for a full rebuild of the stadium when stories of investment in the arena first surfaced in February.
He wrote on Instagram: “There’s a story from Old Trafford that they might rebuild the entire stadium and I’ve just been asked what I think of that. I actually think it would be the right move.
“I think by the time they’ve spent money on Old Trafford, the existing one, I think you’d be better off building a brand new, better, super stadium. I think Manchester United should always be at the top of stadiums, have the best facilities and they have fallen behind.