Red Knights will not overpay for Man United

LONDON - A group of wealthy supporters looking into a possible bid for Manchester United said they would not overpay, and dismissed financial numbers circulating in the media as purely speculative.

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that 60 investors have pledged up to 1.5 billion pounds in their bid to seize control of the club. A spokesman for the group said they had received a very good level of interest.

The "Red Knights", a collection of City figures including former Football League chairman Keith Harris and Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jim O'Neill, have said they are looking at the feasibility of putting together a bid for the world's third-richest football club.

"No specific discussions have been held in relation to the value of Manchester United," the group said in a statement. "People are talking about putting their own money in and are only going to do so if it's at a fair and reasonable price.

"Every penny over a fair price that goes to the Glazers in profit is less money that could be spent on putting the club on a sound financial footing after any takeover."

The group said the talks were at an early stage. The Glazer family, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football team, have said the club is not for sale.

The Glazer family bought Manchester United in 2005 for about 790 million pounds against a wave of opposition from fans who feared they were loading it up with too much debt.

The club raised a 500 million pound bond in January to refinance its debts. The latest accounts show the club owed 507 million pounds at December 31 2009.