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Fears are reportedly growing at Manchester United that Sir Jim Ratcliffe could land the club in debt. The INEOS owner is in talks with the Glazer family to purchase a 25 per cent stake in his boyhood side, though a deal is unlikely to be reached before the January transfer window.
United currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League following their 2-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday night. Diogo Dalot and Scott McTominay scored the all-important goals at Bramall Lane, sparing the blushes of Erik ten Hag in another unconvincing performance from his team.
The Red Devils need to improve markedly if they are to push for trophies this season, with the lack of certainty surrounding the club takeover being blamed for United’s downfalls at present. Though the situation could finally be resolved in the current months, putting an end to almost a year of speculation.
Ratcliffe is set to purchase a 25 per cent stake in the club and talks are ongoing about additional purchases further down the line, though the investment may not be as positive as it appears to be on the surface. According to the Daily Mail, Ratcliffe’s funding of the deal is far from complete and he reportedly is using loans from two different banks that come with interest rates of 6 per cent.
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Given the finances involved, there are fears among fans that the debt incurred by the 71-year-old may fall onto the club and consequently have implications in both the short and long term. The Glazer family have been heavily criticised for taking control of United with leveraged debt previously, and Ratcliffe risks getting his tenure off on the wrong foot with supporters.
However, his desire to invest in Old Trafford will be a move that is likely to win the hearts of supporters. Ratcliffe is said to be keen to accelerate plans to increase the stadium’s capacity from 76,000 to 90,000, whilst also improving the overall facilities and ensuring that the ground is truly fit for purpose.
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Ratcliffe also wants to oversee the footballing side of United’s operation and have a role to play in recruitment, having reportedly been left unimpressed by transfer business conducted over the past few years – with overspending on players a significant cause for concern.
A new sporting director is therefore likely to be appointed upon Ratcliffe’s arrival, with new members of staff also set to be tasked with reshaping United’s recruitment strategies and aiding Ten Hag’s rebuild of the club.
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