Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the CEO of INEOS and a potential takeover suitor for Manchester United, also owns the French Ligue 1 team Nice, although the club is struggling in the south of France.
After a long and drawn-out takeover process, Manchester United fans want nothing more than clarity.
The Glazers put the Reds up for sale in November, but progress has been glacial since then. Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is said to be in the driving seat to take over, but Sir Jim Ratcliffe is still fighting and is said to be deeply involved in the outcome.
Nice has suffered as a result of his fixation with the United takeover. This week, L’Equipe reported that the Ligue 1 team is unsure about their summer transfer budget.
Meanwhile, the club is no closer to naming a new head coach after interim manager Didier Digard was reportedly told he would not be given the position on a permanent basis. All of this comes after Nice fans protested against the ownership this season after losing faith in the club’s direction.
All of this portrays a bleak picture for United supporters. Normally, a laser-like focus on the club that an owner is looking to acquire would be regarded favorably, but it should not come at the expense of another team.
Ratcliffe’s heart may be set on purchasing his boyhood club, but he should be able to balance the two. Let us not forget that if the INEOS owner is successful in his bid to purchase United, he intends to oversee both clubs.
United would appear to be the senior partner in this relationship, and there is little evidence to suggest otherwise. However, the current situation in Nice raises a red flag for supporters.
It is fair to say that the Reds have more expectations than the French team, and the challenge at Old Trafford will be much more difficult given United’s current situation. Unfortunately for Ratcliffe, Nice is not the sparkling advertisement that Britain’s wealthiest man would like it to be.
Fans will be monitoring what happens across the Channel with bated breath, hoping for signs that the INEOS approach is succeeding before embracing Ratcliffe with open arms.