Sir Jim Ratcliffe sent INEOS director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford and the head of INEOS Sport portfolio Jean-Claude Blanc to meet Manchester United executives at Old Trafford today, according to The Athletic.
The British billionaire’s acquisition of a 25% stake in the Old Trafford club is edging closer, and the Red Devils’ football director, John Murtough, and interim chief executive, Patrick Stewart, were in attendance to meet the INEOS duo.
The confirmation of Ratcliffe as a co-owner of Man United is expected before Christmas, and today’s meeting represents a significant step forward in that process as part of a fact-finding mission.
Brailsford and Blanc are expected to play major roles when the OGC Nice owner takes over the football operations of the Red Devils.
They were also part of the team that accompanied Ratcliffe during the visit of Old Trafford in March when the billionaire started the process of bidding for Man United.
Blanc has been tipped to become the club’s chief executive after Ratcliffe arrives, but it remains to be seen whether that would be possible as he is only taking charge of the football operations rather than the whole club.
However, major changes are still expected after Ratcliffe takes over, with the businessman desperate to turn around the fortunes of the club on and off the pitch.
Man United have not won a Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013 and are not part of the favourites for a top-four finish this term.
They are already out of the League Cup this season and a defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich later this month will see them miss out entirely on the knockout stages of European football.
Ratcliffe has his work cut out for him ahead of his imminent arrival at the club, and being a boyhood Man United fan will not be enough to get the job done.
However, he will fancy his chances of making the Red Devils a force to be reckoned with again given the experience of his team and his deep pockets.
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