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Ratcliffe devolution: INEOS transfer plans will leave Man Utd fans fuming

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Erik ten Hag, Man Utd

INEOS’ chief executive of sport Jean-Claude Blanc says Manchester United will fund a new stadium ahead of investing in the playing squad in an update that will surely worry Red Devils fans.

There has been understandable excitement at the Sir Jim Ratcliffe-led minority takeover at Old Trafford, with Britain’s former richest man to be given ‘sporting control’ at United after paying more than £1 billion for his 25 per cent share.

A new sporting director has already been acquired, should an agreement for Dan Ashworth be agreed with Newcastle, and the assumption was that an overhaul of the playing squad would follow.

Ratcliffe has previously publicly criticised the big-money acquisitions of ageing players such as Casemiro, and he and former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane – the club’s two highest earners – head what is reportedly a 15-deep list of transfer listed players.

— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) December 13, 2023

Blanc slate?

But any hopes fans may have of such departures being reinvested in the playing squad appear to have been dashed by Blanc, who will be offering strategic advice working alongside Sir David Brailsford, director of sport at INEOS, and Omar Berrada, United’s new CEO.

“The key is the quality of experience for the fans. We must have the courage to invest in infrastructure rather than in players,” he told La Tribune. “This creates additional income which allows reinvestment in talent.

“I started my career following the construction of a temporary stadium for the opening of the Albertville Games. At Juventus, there was the design and construction of a 41,500-seat stadium. At PSG, we worked a lot to effectively renovate the Parc des Princes. At Manchester United, we’re watching. Old Trafford’s been at the forefront for years but is now playing catch-up.”

UEFA recently released a report that showed United’s squad last season was the most expensive ever assembled. They had a EFL Cup and a third-place finish in the Premier League to show for it.

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