Premier League giants Manchester United are on the verge of undergoing a significant transformation. Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is close to sealing a £1.3bn deal to acquire a 25% share in the historic football club. The acquisition, however, doesn’t merely stand as an equity stake. Ratcliffe’s investment would hand him the reins of the footballing aspects at Old Trafford, reshaping its operations.
While the Glazers will remain the overseers of the club’s vast commercial activities, Ratcliffe’s sizeable stake ensures he’ll have a voice in commercial decisions as well.
Details of Ratcliffe’s involvement are still being ironed out, but early indications hint that fans shouldn’t expect a spending spree come January. The transfer window may not witness the big-money signings some might anticipate.
Highlighting the vision for the club, Sir Jim is setting his sights on creating a Manchester United football committee, as per multiple reports. Key members would comprise Ratcliffe himself, current executive co-chairman Joel Glazer, and Sir Dave Brailsford, once the 25% stake acquisition is complete.
For those unfamiliar with Ratcliffe, his portfolio is impressive. Beyond Manchester United, his sporting interests span across various disciplines. He’s the owner of the cycling powerhouse INEOS Grenadiers, Ligue 1 club Nice – which he acquired in 2019, and Swiss Super League’s FC Lausanne-Sport. Ratcliffe’s influence even stretches into the realm of motorsports, holding a third of the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Mercedes’ star driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton, views Ratcliffe as a combination of “part-boss and part-partner.”
Joel Glazer’s position as Manchester United’s executive co-chairman remains pivotal, but the inclusion of Sir Dave Brailsford could be a game-changer. Brailsford holds the title of INEOS’ director of sport and is the team principal for INEOS Grenadiers. Although they’ve seen a dry spell since 2019, not clinching the Tour de France or having a rider within UCI’s top 10, Brailsford’s legacy is far from faded. He’s been the architect behind seven Tour de France victories with Team Sky and its successor, INEOS Grenadiers. His contribution to British Cycling is monumental, credited with 18 Olympic golds. His ‘marginal gains’ approach is legendary in the world of sports. Lately, Brailsford’s focus has been directed towards Ligue 1’s Nice, under INEOS’s umbrella, albeit with modest achievements so far.