Once INEOS, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, completes its 25% acquisition of Manchester United, Erik ten Hag’s future will not be under scrutiny. Ratcliffe, aged 70, is on the verge of finalizing a £1.4 billion deal to own a quarter of the club next week, pending approval from United’s board. Despite the Glazer family retaining majority ownership, INEOS is expected to assume control of football operations at Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe’s successful offer, which marks the initial step in his ambition for a phased takeover, follows the withdrawal of rival bidder Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani from the race on Saturday. Although the Qatari banker’s final offer was reportedly valued at over $6 billion (£4.9 billion), the Glazers turned it down.
With Sheikh Jassim’s exit, Ratcliffe becomes the sole remaining bidder after 11 months since United was put up for sale in November 2022. The INEOS founder and chief executive seems determined to expedite efforts to restore the club’s former glory, with a focus on overseeing sporting matters as a significant minority shareholder.
Ratcliffe, who has owned French club Nice since 2019 and Swiss Super League team FC Lausanne-Sport since 2017 through INEOS, is set to be responsible for player transfers, management, coaching, and football staff changes, according to Mirror Football.
Despite the Red Devils enduring their worst start to a season in 34 years, Ten Hag’s position is expected to be secure. Ratcliffe and the Dutch manager reportedly met in March, with negotiations taking place at United’s training base, Carrington.
The Times reports that Ratcliffe’s valuation of the club surpasses that of Sheikh Jassim, giving him an edge in the complex takeover race. While the INEOS deal has faced criticism from fans demanding a complete sale, Ratcliffe and his team intend to implement substantial changes to assure supporters that United’s fortunes are being revived.
Sir David Brailsford, INEOS’ director of sport, is also expected to play a significant role in the impending transformation at Old Trafford.