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Three things to expect as Sir Jim Ratcliffe takes control of Man Utd

Manchester United confirmed yesterday that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to acquire a 25 per cent stake of the club and INEOS will be delegated responsibility for the management of football operations.

The deal could take four to six weeks to be fully approved by the Premier League. Ideally, Ratcliffe could take control of the Red Devils during the back end of the January transfer window.

Here are three things to expect with the takeover from the British billionaire.

Erik ten Hag ultimatum

The Dutchman has had bad luck with injuries to key players this term, but he could be under pressure going forward if United can’t arrest their slide down the Premier League table.

Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Mason Mount are all anticipated to return next month. Ten Hag’s job is safe at the moment but things could change if the results don’t improve.

In our view, the first half of February could be a decisive period. United face Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United and Aston Villa in the space of 11 days with two games on the road.

If United fail to close the deficit to the top four, there is a possibility that Ten Hag could be sacked. The gap is already at eight points and the club can’t afford to lose further ground in the coming weeks.

Three potential targets

If Ratcliffe’s deal is ratified by mid to late January, there could be a spending spree with the Britishman prepared to provide funds through INEOS to bolster the first-team squad.

A new centre-back could be eyed. Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo seems the prime target, but a deal may only go through if Ratcliffe were to take control of the sporting operations in time.

Otherwise, it could be a case of impropriety as Ratcliffe is also the owner of the French outfit. A loan deal with an option to buy could be United’s preferred solution next month.

Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee or Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy could be signed to strengthen the striking department while the club could pursue a young central midfielder with potential.

Everton’s Amadou Onana seems a perfect fit to succeed Casemiro, but the Toffees may be reluctant to sell him as they seem set for another relegation battle after a 10-point deduction.

Changes in board

Ratcliffe is expected to announce a new CEO with his takeover. Richard Arnold left the position recently and he could be replaced by Jean-Claude Blanc, who has been associated with INEOS.

Blanc has a good track record from his time at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. The 60-year-old could take up a position in the board as soon as the Premier League ratify the deal.

A new sporting director could be at the helm. John Murtough’s time at the club could end by January. Newcastle United’s Dan Ashworth is the prime choice but Paul Mitchell could be considered.

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