Jim Ratcliffe must prove his commitment to "the culture, ethos and best traditions" of Manchester United if he is seriously considering making a bid for the club, a group of prominent supporters said on Thursday.

The independent Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) outlined its expectations of any potential buyer, saying "new money" investment was essential and demanding fan representation within the ownership model.

Ratcliffe is "definitely a potential buyer" of United should the Glazer family put the club up for sale, a spokesperson for the British billionaire told The Times.

Amid claims the Glazers are considering selling a minority stake, lifelong United supporter Ratcliffe is reportedly willing to discuss taking such a holding, but only if it forms part of a plan to take full control at a later date.

MUST has cautiously welcomed the interest, which follows Ratcliffe failing with a bid to buy Chelsea in May.

In a statement issued on Twitter, MUST said: "Speculation is mounting about a potential change of ownership or new investors at Manchester United. Whilst supporters have called for change, of course this has to be the right change.

"Any prospective new owner or investor has to be committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions of the club. They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium.

"Finally any new ownership structure must embed supporters, including a degree of fan share ownership, in their operating model. These are the criteria supporters will judge any bid on. We are open to dialogue with any bidder, and look forward to any such discussions."

Ratcliffe has made his fortune as head of the INEOS chemicals company and already holds sporting stakes, investing heavily in cycling, sailing and Formula One.

He is the owner of French Ligue 1 football club Nice, and his interest in acquiring a Premier League team has already been made clear.

His spokesperson said: "Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset."

The Glazer family's ownership of United has come under increased scrutiny following the Red Devils' poor start to the Premier League season, with supporters staging several protests against the Americans.

United have made a poor start to life under new boss Erik ten Hag, losing their season-opener 2-1 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion before being embarrassed 4-0 at Brentford. Their next assignment is a clash on Monday with fierce rivals Liverpool.