Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to finalise 25% purchase of Manchester United with Paolo Maldini linked as potential sporting director
It might not be for full control of the club, but it looks like there's finally going to be some progress.
After almost a full year of uncertainty, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly set to finalise his purchase 25% stake in Manchester United Football Club, and there are already some serious rumblings about big names he might be bringing on board.
While full confirmation of the purchase is yet to be verified, Sky News is reporting that after months of talks between Man United and Ratcliffe’s INEOS group, the Failsworth-born businessman and the current Glazer ownership are soon to agree on a $33-a-share deal.
It said that Sir Jim and his INEOS Sports arm plan to acquire 25% of both the listed A-shares and the B-shares, which carry greater voting rights on the board and, at present, are held exclusively by the Glazer family
Although this partial purchase will obviously see the Glazers still firmly intertwined with the club, the majority of fans will no doubt be pleased to hear that there is finally some movement and relinquishing of control after 18 years of unrest.
Sources have claimed that the current owners are keen to complete the deal before the Thanksgiving holiday with some of those close to the deal suggesting that it could be wrapped up as soon as Monday, 20 November with a provisional announcement even more imminent.
In addition to the estimated $1 billion the petrochemical tycoon will be spending to acquire his stake in the club, it is thought that he will also be setting aside roughly £245m to improve the club’s infrastructure — updating Old Trafford being a top priority.
Former frontrunner in the potential United takeover, Shiekh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani, also promised to redevelop the stadium as well as huge investments in the squad and training complexes, all whilst wiping the club’s debt.
Although Ratcliffe’s initial outlay won’t come anywhere near the Qatari royal’s state-funded vision for the club, having walked away from the deal after failing to meet the Glazers’ ever-changing asking price, the 71-year-old has insisted the purchase of shares will be with his own money and that he will not add any more to United’s current borrowings (roughly £969.6m back in March).
- Vernon Kay returns raises over £4m for Children in Need with ultra marathon challenge
- Man United Women are on the verge of breaking two WSL records and you can help smash both
- Manchester Storm and Nottingham Panthers to play memorial game for Adam Johnson
Moreover, perhaps one of the most interesting parts about Ratcliffe’s prospective share purchase is the names that are already being linked with the club should the deal go through.
After CEO Richard Arnold left the club earlier this week, with general counsel Patrick Stewart (not that one) stepping in as interim as they search for a full-time replacement, there is now lots of talk about further shake-ups amongst the board.
According to The Telegraph, not only is Sir Alex Ferguson set to consult and help guide Sir Jim during his overhaul of the club but names that have been floated as a potential new sporting director include Spurs’ former head of recruitment Paul Mitchell and, believe it or not, football legend Paolo Maldini.
Only time will tell whether there’s any real substance in Maldini’s consideration or whether he’s simply on United’s list but despite being sacked from his role at AC Milan back in June, it would still be a big name with some serious pedigree to help kick off Ratcliffe’s impending era.
For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.
Featured Images — INEOS