Sir Jim Ratcliffe might just be able to help Manchester United return to their former glories if he manages to complete his minority investment in the Red Devils over the coming months. Ratcliffe is widely expected to purchase a 25 per cent stake in the club, with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s campaign to lead a full-scale takeover falling flat earlier this month.
The news was met with fierce criticism by some United supporters, many of whom would prefer to see the Glazer family sell the entire club rather than accept a minority investment from Ratcliffe. However, there is evidence to suggest that his involvement will be good thing for United, with the Ineos chief expected to take charge of the sporting arm of the club.
Ratcliffe has owned Ligue 1 side Nice through his involvement with Ineos since 2019, with the French club earning mid-table finishes in their first two seasons under his stewardship. They have come on leaps and bounds in recent months, though, with their gradual progress over the last few years showing little sign of slowing down.
Nice are currently second in the league, one point behind early leaders Monaco, after making an unbeaten start to the new campaign. They are yet to taste defeat after nine matches, winning five and drawing four of their opening games to give themselves a great chance of fighting for their first domestic title since 1959.
They have only scored 10 goals in that time but currently have the best defensive record in all of Europe, having earned six clean sheets while shipping just four goals since the beginning of the season. It puts Nice ahead of the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester City as the most defensively sound top-flight side on the entire continent.
It remains to be seen whether Ratcliffe will be able to have a similar impact at United, with all parties reportedly hoping to complete a deal in the early stages of next year. He recently received a glowing review from none other than Toto Wolff, principal of the Mercedes team in Formula One which signed a five-year partnership with Ineos back in 2020.
“Jim and his partners, they are first of all complementary,” said Wolff earlier this week in response to Ratcliffe’s breakthrough in negotiations with United. “They are huge in terms of profit and decisions being made very quickly. Three bullet points on a page and ‘here we go’.
“With Jim, all the bulls*** is cut out. I think that, wherever he gets his power and resource and character behind it, I think that’s going to be an add-on for any team. He’s a Manchester boy. He has the resources that are needed, the heart in the right place for this team and I’m sure that he can be very creative for Manchester United. With us he’s been a fantastic shareholder and a good sounding board for myself.”
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