Sheffield United: The one thing which has not affected Henry Mauriss' attempted takeover

Sheffield United’s failure to secure an immediate return to the Premier League last season has not affected Henry Mauriss’ interest in purchasing the club.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 3:49 pm

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Sheffield United takeover: Beefed-up checks and bond structure delays Henry Maur...

Officials at Bramall Lane, who last month confirmed the American has made an £115m offer to owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, confirmed over the weekend the proposed takeover was not dependent upon United regaining their top-flight status.

The Star also understands that rather than attempting to negotiate a price, Mauriss recently informed representatives acting on behalf of United’s board that he is still prepared to pay that amount despite seeing the period of exclusivity he was granted earlier this year expire.

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The package, which includes United’s property interests, does not extend to United World; the organisation Prince Abdullah established to oversee his portfolio of sporting investments including Belgian outfit Beerschot and French team Chateauroux.

The delay

Mauriss' efforts to acquire United have been frustrated by a number of issues, with the complexity of the bond structure he is using to fund the purchase and beefed-up checks introduced by the English Football League chief among them.

Sheffield United's defeat over two legs in the Championship play-offs has not affected Hery Mauriss' interest in taking over: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

As well as being a fan of the sport, having investigated the possibility of seizing control of Newcastle before a consortium headed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund replaced Mike Ashley at St James’ Park, United also suspect Mauriss views the deal as a way of expanding the profile of his company Clear TV in the UK.

A well-known brand in the states, the broadcaster, which provides in-house content for facilities such as airports and medical surgeries, does not currently enjoy much of a footprint in this country.

That is likely to change if Mauriss, who first made his intentions known towards the end of last year, replaces Prince Abdullah at the helm.

Sheffield United are at the centre of a takeover proposal: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

United’s senior squad, which was beaten on penalties in the Championship play-off semi-finals last term, reported back for pre-season testing this week ahead of a warm weather training camp in Portugal.

With the EFL still scrutinising documentation provided by Mauriss, who is believed to be working with a new financial institution in the USA to try and speed up the process, Prince Abdullah and his associates have now started to action some of the plans they had devised to try and assist manager Paul Heckingbottom before the America made his interest known.

The vacancies

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Speaking to the media following United’s defeat by Nottingham Forest, which condemned them to spending another campaign in the second tier, Heckingbottom identified “six or seven” vacancies which need filling either via the transfer market or academy before competition resumes.

That number could rise if any of his leading names, such as Norway midfielder Sander Berge, are lured away during the summer window. Despite insisting theft under no pressure to sell, United are aware that Berge would prefer to be playing at the highest level possible after hearing his international manager Stale Solbakken claim he is “too good” for the EFL.

Heckingbottom is likely to have been irritated, but not surprised, by Solbakken’s comment given his awareness of Berge’s ambitions.