Manchester United celebrates a goal against Valencia during a match at Old Trafford [Reuters]

A Manchester United director has said that the American owners will sell the club eventually but that day is a "long way down the line".

The Premier League leaders have faced mounting speculation about their future ownership since the Glazer family last month cleared around $342m of high-interest debt used to fund their leveraged 2005 takeover.

The owners haven't announced where the funds came from, although they have said no cash has been drawn from the club.

Reports in Britain and the Gulf over the last week suggested Qatar Holdings is preparing a bid for the club, but the 18-time English champions say they have not had an approach and the club is not for sale.

The Glazers have in the past rebuffed a $2.2bn offer from an unnamed Qatari group and stressed in May that they "will not entertain any offers" for the club.

But Michael Edelson, United director, who has been on United's board since 1982, told the AP news agency on Tuesday, "It is inevitable that at some time they will sell".

Fan protests against the Glazers have mounted throughout 2010 since the club's financial predicament was revealed in a bond prospectus sent to investors in January.

The $784m bond means that even by repaying $342m of loans last month, the club is not in the debt-free state it was in before the Glazers' leveraged takeover.

In October, United posted a net loss of $130m for the year ending June 30 after costs associated with the huge debts wiped out record revenues of $445m.

Forbes magazine has estimated that United is worth $1.8bn - making it the most valuable football team for the sixth straight year.

A group of financiers calling themselves the Red Knights joined forces with the Manchester United Supporters' Trust earlier this year in an attempt to put together a bid to buy out the Glazers.

That prompted the owners to stress in May that they are committed to "the long-term ownership of the club".

Source: Agencies