Manchester United insiders are unconvinced by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's seriousness in buying the club.
The Daily Mail says Ratcliffe became the first potential bidder to publicly declare his hand last week with an INEOS spokesperson confirming: 'We have formally put ourselves into the process.'
However, United are convinced the company's main concern is securing positive publicity.
Ratcliffe went public with his desire to buy Chelsea last year, but only after the deadline for tabling bids had passed.
Chelsea were taken over by a consortium led by Todd Boehly in May last year.
Ratcliffe met United co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer for formal talks last year, and he is currently the only party to formally announce their interest in buying the club.
The 70-year-old is one of Britain's richest men and a boyhood United fan, and he is expected to face rival interest from the United States, Asia and the Middle East after the Glazer family revealed their willingness to sell United following 17 years in power at Old Trafford.