The Glazer family have been warned about the potential backlash from fans if they do not sell Manchester United, sources have told ESPN.
The club's U.S.-based owners announced last November that they would consider "strategic alternatives" including accepting minority investment or a full sale.
Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim and the INEOS Group, fronted by British businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, have come forward as potential buyers but the Glazer siblings, of which there are six, have not yet made a decision on what steps to take.
Sources have told ESPN that co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer are the most reluctant to give up their shares.
It has prompted fears among supporters that they want to stay on as owners, despite being deeply unpopular since their leveraged takeover in 2005.
Sources have told ESPN that during their deliberations, the Glazers have been asked to consider the potential for fan opposition if they were to announce their intention to remain at the club in any capacity.
Supporters have regularly protested against their ownership and in May 2021 a Premier League fixture against Liverpool was postponed after demonstrators forced their way into Old Trafford and onto the pitch.
There was also a protest ahead of United's first game of the season against Wolves last week. Another is planned for Nottingham Forest's visit to Old Trafford on Aug. 26 when fans have been asked to stage a sit-in for an hour after the full-time whistle.
Sources close to the Qatari bid for United have told ESPN that they remain sceptical that the club is actually for sale. A number of financial groups are also waiting to hear whether their offers of investment have been accepted.
United need an injection of capital to begin the redevelopment of Old Trafford. Sources have told ESPN that there are various plans to improve the stadium, costing anywhere from £800 million ($1.02bn) to £2bn ($2.55bn).