May 24, 2024

The head of INEOS is poised to revamp the board of Manchester United upon finalizing his minority ownership, with a keen focus on enhancing the club’s recruitment strategy. While Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover is not yet official, strategic moves are already in motion to restore the club to its former glory. The departure of Chief Executive Richard Arnold has paved the way for Jean-Claude Blanc, INEOS Sport CEO, often referred to as the ‘Lionel Messi of sport business,’ to step into a leading role in the club’s rejuvenation efforts.

Expressing dissatisfaction with United’s previous recruitment endeavors, Ratcliffe is determined to address what he has criticized as “shockingly poor” decision-making, branding the club as ‘the dumb money.’ The significant decline since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure further fuels Ratcliffe’s resolve for change. Sporting director John Murtough, who has overseen substantial spending of around £400m ($497m) in the last two years, is under scrutiny amid the team’s dismal performance in the Premier League and impending Champions League exit.

To spearhead the club’s reboot, Ratcliffe and INEOS’s Sir Dave Brailsford are exploring potential candidates. Among them is Dougie Freedman, the former striker credited with guiding Crystal Palace to Premier League stability through astute moves since assuming the role of sporting director in 2017. Freedman has excelled in bringing in talented but overlooked young players, such as Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi, and Michael Olise, transforming them into highly valuable assets collectively worth over £60m ($74m). His success extends to overseeing the establishment of Palace’s new academy in 2021. Given United’s tradition of nurturing young talent and Freedman’s rapport with Ferguson, his former neighbor, he emerges as a strong contender to lead the Red Devils’ recruitment efforts.

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