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Why Sir Jim Ratcliffe cannot control Manchester United for another six weeks



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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent stake in Manchester United has been confirmed on Christmas Eve but he will not be in charge for the January transfer window.

Ratcliffe, 71, had his stake in the Old Trafford club confirmed on Sunday afternoon. He will be investing around £1.5 billion into United from the off, with investment into the training ground and stadium being just under £250 million of that total cash amount.

Speaking on his acquisition, Ratcliffe said: “As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the Club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United Board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the Club. Whilst the commercial success of the Club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.

“We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the Club, while also providing funds intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.

“We are here for the long term and recognise that a lot of challenges and hard work lie ahead, which we will approach with rigour, professionalism and passion. We are committed to working with everyone at the Club – the Board, staff, players and fans – to help drive the Club forward. 

“Our shared ambition is clear: we all want to see Manchester United back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football.”

The process has been longer than anyone would have expected. The Glazer family originally announced their intention to explore ‘strategic alternatives’ in November 2022.

Ratcliffe has since outfought a bid from Qatar and has recently been in deep discussions about concluding the deal that is now finally over the line.

Whilst the INEOS Chief will be taking control of footballing operations at the club, the long-lasting nature of the process now means that his influence in the January transfer market for United will be minimal at best.

The Premier League still needs to approve Ratcliffe’s investment into the club, and that has been previously earmarked as a six to eight-week process.

Whilst this is not expected to prove an obstacle for the deal, INEOS will not be able to take charge until it is complete, according to The Athletic. That would leave Ratcliffe coming into the club in February after the mid-season transfer window.

Erik ten Hag’s side is in desperate need of reinforcements amidst a tragic season so far, with struggles in the Premier League and an early Champions League exit in the group stages.

However, the latest information from Michael Keegan has stated that the Premier League approval process may not take as long as expected. Instead, there is now hope that it could be approved between four and six weeks.

This would still leave the British billionaire with minimal time to influence United’s transfer activities next month but would be a positive for the club nonetheless.