Sir Jim Ratcliffe considers former Liverpool sporting director to oversee Manchester United’s new era

INEOS is now finalising the separation with the Glazers with Sir Jim Ratcliffe ready to assume control of the sporting side of the club, and Michael Edwards, who left Anfield last year, is admired by the group

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Thursday 23 November 2023 13:24 GMT
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The Glazer family and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are still discussing the legal points of what the ownership structure of Manchester United would look like after INEOS’ takeover of a 25 percent stake, having agreed on the broad principles of the purchase.

The prospective deal has been described by those involved as one of the most complicated in the long recent list of football takeovers, due to the distinctive condition of the minority owner taking full control of the sporting side of the club.

It is understood that Ratcliffe’s eventual football staff would not have to run major decisions past the Glazers, as has been the case for the last decade.

The main legal terms that have to be settled now are exactly how the separation would work, particularly as INEOS has been insistent on a potential path to majority ownership through equity.

That may involve compromise on both sides to get this crucial initial agreement over the line, which has slowed what has already been a glacial structure.

The Independent has been told that negotiations on a minority stake have actually been taking place since May, with INEOS quickly realising that the Glazers had no real intention of selling outright.

As regards the eventual football structure, there have been tentative private conversations, but Ratcliffe and his staff want to properly survey how the club works when they are in place before making firm decisions.

That means any overt influence in January is unlikely, if the deal is even confirmed by then. Former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards is admired by INEOS, to go with talk of Paul Mitchell and Dougie Freedman. It is uncertain, however, whether Edwards would want to get back into football.

Michael Edwards with Jurgen Klopp and Mike Gordon after the German’s contract extension in 2019

Any such appointments would form a group feeding up to Jean-Claude Blanc under Ratcliffe, with input from Sir Dave Brailsford.

As regards when confirmation may finally come, those involved are waiting for the green light, since the stock exchange has to be informed within 24 hours.

The nature of the discussions so far, however, has taught everyone not to be definitive about timeframes.

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