The founder of Ineos, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, appears poised to secure a 25 percent stake in Manchester United, and he will undoubtedly have a multitude of challenges to address upon his arrival.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to take charge of the footballing operations at Manchester United, assuming a minority share in the club, following the withdrawal of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani from the bidding process. Initially considering a majority share, it now appears that Ratcliffe will invest approximately £1.4 billion for a 25 percent ownership.
One of the most significant challenges facing Ratcliffe is the issue of player recruitment and transfers. The Glazers have faced concerns over their retention of power, and Ratcliffe’s role is expected to encompass football operations, including control over transfers—a domain where the club has struggled for an extended period.
Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United player, emphasized the magnitude of the problem by stating, “I don’t think you can attribute it to just one player in this situation. If you look at the past 10 years or so, the recruitment of players has been abysmal.
How many of those players have been sold for more than their purchase price? That speaks volumes because it’s a reflection of poor recruitment and inadequate coaching staff, as players do not progress upon their arrival. Various aspects of the club require scrutiny and improvement, as it’s not confined to a single area.”
United’s troubles in the transfer market have been compounded by their inability to generate substantial revenue from player sales. This financial constraint has left managers like Erik ten Hag short of funds over the past year, preventing them from making signings in January.
Despite the Glazers’ ownership, player sales should serve as a significant avenue for generating funds. However, Manchester United has struggled to turn a profit when selling players, often incurring significant losses on underperforming stars.
Gary Neville echoed these concerns, saying, “I feel very sorry for the manager. Many will argue that he should do better, and that’s a valid point, considering he is the Manchester United manager.
Nevertheless, over the past decade, there have been numerous significant issues within the club, that various managers have encountered. Until these issues are resolved, we will continue to witness underperforming teams and players. It’s become a challenging environment for coaches and players—this is not too strong a description.”
The problem of unprofitable player sales is likely to resurface in January, with little hope of United recouping a significant portion of the £73 million they spent on Jadon Sancho just two years ago. The 23-year-old has been sidelined from first-team action and is expected to leave on loan, but any permanent deal is unlikely to come close to the initial expenditure.