Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is due to be announced later on Christmas Eve, according to a report.

Confirmation of the investment by the 71-year-old’s Ineos Group would end a saga which has lasted more than a year.

Sky News has reported that a deal is set to be announced, 13 months after the club’s United States-based owners the Glazer family revealed their intention to undertake a strategic review of their options, including the possibility of selling up.

Manchester United v Leicester City – Premier League – Old Trafford

Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim were both in the running to oversee a buyout of the club until October.

Sheikh Jassim withdrew his bid for full control of the club on October 14, with Ratcliffe’s focus shifting to taking a significant minority stake.

Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25billion for the share purchase, while also acquiring significant control over footballing operations.

It has also been reported that Ratcliffe is prepared to invest a further £245million to improve the club’s ageing infrastructure.

Former United defender Gary Neville was less than impressed by the timing of the reportedly imminent announcement.

“Manchester United 2023 has been a disgrace to the end,” he wrote on X.

“The timing of this is truly awful and no functioning organisation would even think about it.

“Anyway all the very best to Jim Ratcliffe and I hope he can somehow work out a way to get the club right again and back to being something respectable on and off the pitch.”