If Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25% stake in Manchester United is approved, he could quickly make his mark in the transfer market, potentially influencing the club’s football operations.
A board comprising 12 members will cast their votes to decide whether the British billionaire’s proposal to acquire a minority share from the Glazer family is greenlit. According to The Telegraph, Ratcliffe and his petrochemicals conglomerate, INEOS, have secured a clause in their agreement that would grant the 71-year-old control over the footballing aspects at Old Trafford.
Notably, INEOS is already involved in the administration of Ligue 1 side Nice and Swiss top division club Lausanne-Sport.
However, despite Ratcliffe’s potential investment, Manchester United still faces Financial Fair Play (FFP) constraints, limiting their ability to make significant expenditures in the January transfer window without generating funds through player sales.
Nevertheless, the club can explore the option of pre-contract agreements with players whose contracts will expire in the summer.
Here are five players who might be on Manchester United’s radar in the upcoming January transfer window:
- Adrien Rabiot:
United’s interest in Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot has been a recurring theme in the past two summer transfer windows. However, the player’s wage demands deterred the club from securing his signature in 2022. Without the need to pay a transfer fee, United could potentially negotiate a deal to bring the 2018 World Cup winner to Old Trafford.
- Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao):
A highly regarded young forward from Spain, 21-year-old Nico Williams has garnered attention from United, Brighton, and Liverpool as his contract with Athletic Bilbao approaches its end. Known for his versatility, Williams can play on the right-wing or the opposite flank, and he’s a regular fixture in the Spanish national team.
- Piotr Zielinski (Napoli):
Another midfield prospect for United, Piotr Zielinski played a pivotal role in Napoli’s historic Scudetto win last season. The Polish midfielder is renowned for his goal-scoring ability from central midfield and expertise in set-piece delivery. With his contract expiring in June, he may seek new challenges after eight years in Naples.
- Toni Kroos (Real Madrid):
If United aims to reunite Raphael Varane with another former Real Madrid teammate, they might consider a move for Toni Kroos, whose contract expires in the summer. The 33-year-old has a distinguished career and has been linked with Manchester City, but a switch to the other side of Manchester could be enticing.
- Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain):
While it may seem improbable, the prospect of Kylian Mbappe joining United this summer cannot be entirely ruled out. The PSG superstar’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and he has indicated his intention not to renew it. If a bidding war ensues, United might explore the possibility of securing his services, although Real Madrid remains a prominent contender.
The transfer market promises to be an intriguing arena for Manchester United, with potential changes in ownership and the pursuit of talented players.