Malcolm Glazer, the US sports tycoon with desires for Manchester United, has bought a further 1.27 million shares in Manchester United – taking his stake closer to the 30% mark.

Late on Monday, Mr Glazer spent £17m on increasing his holding in the club to 27.63%, but the latest purchase raises that to 28.11%.

If Glqzer reaches the 30% threshold, he will be compelled to launch a takeover of the club.

The move follows his purchase of 15.4 million shares last Friday.

Mr Glazer’s latest acquistion puts him within touching distance of Irish businessmen John Magnier and JP McManus, who between them, own 28.9% of the club.

However, news of Glazer’s latest purchase has angered the influential Shareholders United (SU) group.

“This affair cannot but be damaging to the business of the company and harmful to the interests of Shareholders United members as well as other shareholders in the company,” SU chairman Nick Towle said.

The final say could well lie with Magnier and McManus, and whether Mr Glazer can persuade them to back any takeover he makes.