Sir Jim Ratcliffe confirms he is interested in buying Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is said to be "willing to explore opportunities" at Old Trafford. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

Billionaire businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Manchester United, it has been confirmed.

A spokesman for the Ineos boss told ITV News: "We are confirming interest if the club is for sale."

It comes after reports that the Glazer family is considering selling a minority stake in the Premier League club - as fans plan to protest against the club's "vile" ownership.

Manchester United fans have long protested against the ownership of the Glazer family.

According to The Times, the Failsworth-born chemical engineer - thought to be the second richest person in the UK - would buy a stake in the club "with a view to taking full control if the Glazers welcome new investment."

United are currently at the bottom of the Premier League table after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford.

Erik Ten Hag is the first United boss to lose his opening two games in more than 100 years.

On Tuesday, Michael Knighton, told ITV Granada Reports he wanted the help of Sir Jim Ratcliffe to force a hostile takeover from the Glazer family.

Mr Knighton, who first tried to buy the club more than 30 years ago, revealed he has already pulled together a consortium of three well-known billionaires.

Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton said the Glazer brothers have "damaged the brand". Credit: ITV Granada

Reports that the Glazers are considering selling a minority stake caused a sharp rise in the share price earlier on Wednesday.

The family has been fiercely criticised by fans, who will vocalise their concerns again before United's next match at Old Trafford.

Supporters' group The 1958 says it will protest ahead of the live televised game against Liverpool on Monday 22 August.

Sir Jim, a United fan himself, failed in his bid to buy Chelsea in May but confirmed he was interested in controlling a major Premier League team.

The Glazer family made their money from real estate. Credit: PA

The Glazer family borrowed funds to buy Manchester United in 2005, leaving the club with huge debts.

Bloomberg said that while the Glazers have had "some preliminary discussions about the possibility of bringing in a new investor" they are not ready to sell the club, which could be worth as much as £5 billion.

The latest developments come after the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, joked on Twitter that he was going to buy United.