Man United FC

Sources: Man Utd and Ratcliffe could now bring “perfect” free-agent to Old Trafford

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s week in Manchester has been filled with meetings, marking progress in the completion of his 25% stake acquisition in the club.

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The formal installment is anticipated in February, granting Ratcliffe sporting control. As part of the deal, Ratcliffe will inject $300 million, acquiring just over 4% of common shares and increasing his total stake to 29%.

Viewed as a meet-and-greet and fact-finding mission, Ratcliffe engaged in a lengthy meeting with Erik ten Hag, characterized as “positive.” Sir Dave Brailsford, accompanying Ratcliffe, addressed staff and emphasized the upcoming “performance challenge.”

For now, Erik ten Hag’s position appears secure, with INEOS opting not to hasten major decisions. It’s likely that ten Hag will see out the season, and his job is not under immediate threat. INEOS intends to avoid premature judgments based on inconsistent season results.

INEOS’ initial focus is on restructuring the football department, eyeing key executive roles. The addition of a sporting director and head of recruitment is anticipated, opening the door for multiple senior hires.

While Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth is admired by INEOS, no formal approach has been made, and Newcastle is not yet planning for a post-Ashworth era. The potential departure of Ashworth is a topic of industry discussion.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe remains interested in free agent Paul Mitchell, who is viewed as a viable option for the role at Old Trafford.

The possibility of both Ashworth and Mitchell being considered is on the table.

On the playing field, Manchester United’s January priority is outbound transfers. INEOS is aware of a ‘Transfers Plan’ in the agreement terms with the Glazers, and any deviations require consultation with Ratcliffe, who will assume instant sporting control upon completion.

Jadon Sancho’s loan move to Dortmund is nearing completion, aligning with his desire to return. Manchester United appears to be flexible on the £50 million buyout obligation.

The deal, if finalized, allows INEOS to reassess the situation at the season’s end, with the negotiated package exceeding the reported €3 million figure.

While offers for Anthony Martial are welcome, there is no urgency to offload Raphael Varane. Although his current deal won’t auto-extend, the club might offer a new contract with reduced terms.

Varane expresses a desire to end his career at Manchester United, Real Madrid, or Lens. Real Madrid has no plans to bring him back.

Saudi dealmakers see a tangible chance to sign Varane this summer, despite player close circles downplaying the switch.

John Murtough’s presence in Saudi for the Club World Cup was primarily for relationship building, with no immediate outgoing developments.

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