And so it is farewell to Sheikh Jassim.

Really, though, aside from that one picture that looks suspiciously like an e-fit, did anybody really know anything about the elusive Qatari royal whose heart he claimed was in Manchester, and whose bid to conquer Old Trafford absolutely did not have any ties to the autocratic Qatari state? For many, it did not seem to matter.

The cessation of Jassim’s attempts to buy Manchester United late last week has, in some quarters, been billed as the final death knell for a once great club. Seemingly tired of an 11-month process which felt a lot more like 11 years, the announcement from his camp was borderline comical.

Via a handful of compliant sources who had gleefully carried out PR for Jassim throughout the saga, there came a smug ‘here’s what you could’ve won’ press release – a list of the infinite glories Qatar’s bid would have bestowed upon United, completely removing the Glazers, rebuilding Old Trafford and swiftly concluding the triple signing of Kylian Mbappe, Eduardo Camavinga, and Kingsley Coman, all to ensure the club could ‘instantly challenge’ for every major honour once more.

As probably happens when you’re multi-billionaire royalty, it carried the petulance of someone thoroughly unfamiliar with not getting what he wants.

But despite the depressingly large social media horde that continually heralded Jassim as United’s only saviour, his arrival would have been the real harbinger of doom for one of football’s greatest institutions. No amount of money would have been worth a historic club becoming a policy tool for the Qatari state, whose human-rights record was laid out for the world to see at last year’s World Cup.

We have already seen how the Saudi-backed takeover at Newcastle United has played out. Saudi flags at games, the Saudi national team playing at St James’ Park, even the release of an away strip strikingly similar to that worn by said national team – the owners have shown that is all stuff you can get away with, as long as you’re winning football matches. Just look at how anyone who dares suggest ‘this is all a bit dodgy, is it not?’ finds themselves shouted down with whataboutery. It’s an awful path for football to head down, and any resistance to it is welcome.

It's understandable, to an extent, that some United fans have watched how Manchester City’s Abu-Dhabi ownership have painstakingly built what is currently the greatest club side on the planet, and thought: ‘this is the only way to compete’. But they need only cast eyes across the English Channel to Paris Saint-Germain, and how Qatar’s investment there has been a failure.

Yes, PSG win Ligue 1 most years, but the gulf in finance to the rest of the division was always going to make it so. In Europe, they have one lost Champions League final to show for all the billions invested, the prime example that simply throwing money at a football club without a refined, top-class strategy simply does not work.

Dodging the state-ownership should be considered a win for United fans, but it does not mean they have to be entirely satisfied with the alternative.

The outcome of this draining episode is that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of chemical empire INEOS, looks set to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the club, one which leaves the Glazer family still in-situ. Given the widespread glee at the thought of a Glazer-free future when it was announced that ‘strategic alternatives’ were being explored over the future of United, it is a deal that feels underwhelming. But, if we're to take an optimistic outlook, perhaps the most telling aspect is not how much control Ratcliffe will have, but what he is taking control of.

It is expected that while the Glazers will remain majority shareholders, Ratcliffe will assume responsibility for the entire football operation. It seems an unusual arrangement, and some have speculated that this is simply the first step for a larger takeover to be completed in time, but that is still far from clear. As an aside, though, is there anything more telling of how the Glazers have run United all these years than happily giving someone else carte-blanche to run the football department?

It’s almost as if all those who long insisted success on the pitch didn’t matter a jot to them had a point. Anyway…

Until details are ratified and contracts signed, official communication will probably remain scarce. But once the agreement has been signed off, Ratcliffe would do well to acknowledge that the one thing sorely lacking from this whole process has been transparency.

For almost a year, United fans have been relying largely on anonymous briefings and PR fluff from two competing parties desperate to outgun each other. They are overdue a significant degree of clarity on what exactly this deal entails and, as far as possible, where it may lead in the future.

On that point, Ratcliffe may be limited in what he can reveal, but he will also know that, for some, there will be an optics issue in being part of an outcome which does not fully remove the Glazers. However, their rejection of multiple inordinate full takeover offers from the 71-year-old, and from Jassim, perhaps suggests there was no other way into the building than via minority stake.

Still, though, how much Ratcliffe and INEOS can feasibly change in this position is up for debate. United are not a club in need of a spring clean, but a complete root and branch revamp of their football strategy, one that has been an abject failure for far too long. And then there’s the infrastructure – Old Trafford is well overdue an upgrade or a complete replacement. How much sway will Ratcliffe as a minority stakeholder really have in making such wildly expensive advancements?

This a worst-case scenario, but there is legitimate concern that this new structure allows the Glazers to continue milking the cash cow that is Manchester United, while leaving Ratcliffe to clean up the mess on the pitch, taking all the associated flak that comes with it.

Predictably, even as this soap opera approaches some sort of conclusion, there remain more questions than answers. One thing is clear, however - its outcome will not be the silver bullet so many fans had prayed for.