Sir Jim Ratcliffe is currently on the cusp of securing a 25 per cent minority stake at Manchester United and he could take control of the club’s sporting matters as soon as Monday.
The British billionaire is already contemplating changes to the backroom staff and it is claimed that CEO Richard Arnold, football director John Murtough and director of football operations David Harrison could be sacked next week.
If that is the case, Ratcliffe would no doubt have replacements in mind. In our opinion, bringing in Jean-Claude Blanc and Paul Mitchell as the CEO and sporting director respectively, would transform the Red Devils’ fortunes.
Blanc has vast experience in football management. The 60-year-old was initially appointed as a board member during a difficult period for Juventus in 2006 where they were relegated to Serie B due to the match-fixing scandal.
The Frenchman helped the Bianconeri get promoted as the CEO. They went on to finish third and second in subsequent seasons with barely any profit. He also oversaw the construction of the Juventus arena and was responsible for the financing.
Blanc took over a similar role between 2011 and 2022 at Paris Saint-Germain. He oversaw the transformation of Les Parisiens into a dominant European side with several high-profile signings including the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi.
He left the post in late December last year to oversee the sports portfolio of Ratcliffe’s INEOS group – including football clubs OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport. He has also had his presence in Cycling as well as Formula One.
We won’t be surprised if Blanc takes over the executive role from Arnold after Ratcliffe takes charge of the football operations at United. Meanwhile, Mitchell would also be a fascinating appointment with his impressive track record.
The 42-year-old was Southampton’s head of recruitment in 2012 as they gained promotion to the Premier League. He went on to join Tottenham Hotspur alongside manager Mauricio Pochettino and made some big signings such as Heung-min Son, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld.
After a fall-out with chairman Daniel Levy, Mitchell had stints with RB Leipzig and Monaco as sporting director. He is credited with signing the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Dani Olmo, Dayot Upamecano, Axel Disasi and Vanderson.
Mitchell is currently one of the most-sought after sporting directors in world football. He has been linked with a Premier League return for some time. Ratcliffe should bring him to United, who are in dire need of better negotiating skills.
The club have been guilty of paying over the odds for players. They have tended to play the waiting game in transfer windows only to pay a much higher fee. Clubs have taken advantage of United too often and this needs to stop soon.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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