Sir Jim Ratcliffe's £1.25 billion ($1.57bn) investment in Manchester United will be confirmed next week and could be finalised as early as Monday, a source familiar with the sale process has told ESPN.
Ratcliffe, Britain's second-richest person with a net worth estimated at £29.6bn by the 2023 Sunday Times Rich List, has negotiated a deal to acquire 25% of United from the Glazer family, the Premier League club's American owners.
While Glazer siblings Bryan, Edward, Kevin and Darcie -- all listed as United directors -- are expected to vastly reduce their shareholding as part of the sale, Old Trafford co-chairmen Avram and Joel Glazer will retain an involvement and the club will continue to be majority-owned by the Glazers.
But Ratcliffe, the founder of the chemicals company Ineos, will take control of football operations at the club as part of the deal in an attempt to revive United, historically the Premier League's most successful club, and help the team challenge for a first league title since 2013.
ESPN reported earlier this season that Ratcliffe's team has already undertaken an audit of United's recent recruitment in an effort to prevent the club wasting huge sums of money on future signings following a number of unsuccessful acquisitions under the Glazer regime.
But despite reaching an agreement to buy a 25% stake two months ago, final negotiations with the Glazers have progressed slowly and Richard Arnold has left his role as United CEO during the process.
A source has told ESPN that Ratcliffe's ownership with French club Nice, who currently sit in second position in Ligue 1, has led to some delays due to UEFA rules prohibiting two teams with the same owners or directors participating in the same competition -- an issue which would arise next season in the Champions League or Europa League.
That complication will only require a resolution if United and Nice qualify for the same UEFA competition, however, so a source said it will not prevent the stake being purchased in United next week.