Sir Jim Ratcliffe is edging closer to finalizing his partial takeover at Manchester United, a move that would grant him control over the club’s football operations, as reported by BBC Sport. The billionaire is expected to complete the minority stake purchase next week and is already planning decisive actions to revitalize the struggling club amidst a dismal start to the season.
Ratcliffe’s initial strategy aligns with the “open heart surgery” advocated by Ralf Rangnick, involving an investigation into the club’s significant expenditures in the transfer market without commensurate success in the title race. The potential shake-up includes the departure of three key staff members: chief executive Richard Arnold, football director John Murtough, and director of football operations David Harrison.
In addition, three players are rumored to be on the chopping block in January: Jadon Sancho, Antony, and Anthony Martial. Arnold and Murtough’s potential exits are unsurprising, given their questionable decisions, particularly the failed pursuit of Erik ten Hag’s top transfer target in 2022.
David Harrison’s recent appointment in February 2023 is likely part of Ineos’ plan to make way for their own staff. Frenchman Jean-Claude Blanc and cycling chief David Brailsford are speculated to play significant roles under Ratcliffe.
While staff departures can be relatively straightforward, player exits present challenges. Sancho and Martial’s situations are somewhat manageable due to contract circumstances, but finding willing clubs may prove challenging. Antony, a recent signing in 2022, represents a potentially ruthless move by Ratcliffe if sold, sending a clear message about responsible spending.
The Mirror estimates that releasing these three players could save approximately £750,000 per week, underlining Ratcliffe’s commitment to restructuring the squad and fostering financial prudence.