Sir Jim Ratcliffe Man Utd deal approved ‘next week’ with first appointment ready

Reaction to Richard Arnold leaving Man Utd

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s deal to purchase a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United for around £1.3billion is reportedly set to be formally completed next week as the Brit looks to get his foot in the door at the club. He has already eyed up big potential changes and the Red Devils on Wednesday confirmed that CEO Richard Arnold will leave the club.

The Telegraph have claimed that Jean-Claude Blanc, a leading figure at INEOS Sport and former Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus chief, could replace the outgoing Arnold once Ratcliffe’s deal to buy a quarter stake in United is confirmed. That could come as early as next week, though despite any announcement the deal will also have to be ratified by the Premier League.

The league’s green light could take a further six to eight weeks, during which Ratcliffe will be unable to contribute to club operations. Though big changes are clearly afoot at United with Blanc set to take the reigns at Old Trafford and he may not be the only incoming behind the scenes.

While United’s current football director John Murtough’s position is also reportedly under threat, as Crystal Palace chief Dougie Freeman and Paul Mitchell are said to be under consideration to replace him as Sir David Brailsford conducts an audit of the club on Ratcliffe’s behalf.

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Patrick Stewart, United’s legal counsel, has been appointed interim CEO and Arnold will provide “transitional support” until the end of December before formally leaving after 16 years at the club.

Erik ten Hag’s position at the club is not thought to be questioned but the Dutch boss will be aware that results and performances this season will have to improve, though he will look for backing from Ratcliffe in the January transfer window. Ratcliffe is expected to oversee football operations, even though ratification from the Premier League could come during January.

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Whether Ten Hag and Ratcliffe will work with Blanc, Freeman, Mitchell or Brailsford or a combination of the quartet remains to be determined but with the INEOS chief’s purchase to be confirmed next week, it marks a new era for United.

Although the Glazers still take majority ownership, having confirmed a year ago that they would consider a sale as the unpopular family continues to face protests from supporters.

Sheikh Jassim had attempted to reach terms over a full sake that would see the Glazers leave Old Trafford, but he was unable to find a compromise with the current owners and pulled out – paving the way for Ratcliffe to become a minority owner through his 25 per cent purchase.

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