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Man Utd takeover: Sir Jim Ratcliffe proposes three-person football committee with him, Joel Glazer and Sir Dave Brailsford

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to purchase 25 per cent of Man Utd for £1.3bn; the deal would give the INEOS owner control of football operations, plus a say in the commercial side controlled by the Glazer family; Man Utd are not expected to be busy in the January window

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Kaveh Solhekol gives the latest updates on Sir Jim Ratcliffe's attempts to buy a 25 per cent stake of Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is proposing a new Manchester United football committee of himself, Joel Glazer and Sir Dave Brailsford if his deal to acquire 25 per cent of the club is agreed.

As part of the £1.3bn deal for a quarter of the Premier League club, Ratcliffe's deal for a minority stake would give him control of football operations at Old Trafford.

The Glazer family would retain control of the commercial side of the business but Ratcliffe would also have a say on those matters due to his stake in the club.

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With Jim Ratcliffe coming in with a minority ownership bid, and talks of having Joel Glazer being a part of a three-man committee, Jonathan Liew from the Guardian and Sam Wallace from The Telegraph discuss it all on Back Pages Tonight.

Ratcliffe's deal is still being finalised, but whatever happens, United are unlikely to be big spenders in the January transfer window.

As revealed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in an interview with The Athletic last month, the Glazers usually allow their managers three big signings a year and United generally prefer to do the bulk of their business in the summer.

Ten Hag: I'm not involved in this

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag insists he has no involvement in the proposed minority takeover of the club and remains tight-lipped on Jadon Sancho's future with the club.

Manager Erik ten Hag has stressed he is focused on his team and this weekend's trip to Sheffield United amid talk of Ratcliffe potentially investing in the club.

During the international break, Sheikh Jassim was understood to have ended his attempt to buy United, while INEOS founder Ratcliffe is reportedly looking to purchase a 25 per cent stake in the club.

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Asked about the situation on Friday, Ten Hag told a press conference: "I'm not involved in this. Others in the club are dealing with this.

"I am focusing on my team, I'm focusing on the coming block (of games), and I am focusing on the most important priority, the next game - it's all about that."

Man Utd's proposed football committee: A who's who...

Sir Jim Ratcliffe (left) and Dave Brailsford (right)
Image: Sir Jim Ratcliffe (left) and Sir Dave Brailsford (right) with Chris Froome, who won four Tours de France under Brailsford's management at Team Sky

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is close to acquiring 25 per cent of Manchester United for £1.3bn. He owns cycling team INEOS Grenadiers, Ligue 1 side Nice, who he took over in 2019, and FC Lausanne-Sport, a Swiss Super League club.

The Greater Manchester-born billionaire also owns a third of the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Mercedes driver Sir Lewis Hamilton describes Ratcliffe as a "part-boss and part-partner".

Joel Glazer is the current Manchester United executive co-chairman.

Sir Dave Brailsford is INEOS director of sport and is also team principal of cycling team INEOS Grenadiers. They have not won the Tour de France since 2019 and do not have a rider in the top 10 of UCI rankings, however Brailsford previously oversaw seven Tour de France wins in charge of Team Sky and then the rebranded INEOS Grenadiers. He also revolutionised British Cycling, with riders claiming 18 Olympic gold medals under his leadership and is famous for his 'marginal gains' philosophy.

Sir Dave Brailsford's record in cycling
Image: Sir Dave Brailsford's record in cycling

As INEOS director of sport he has most recently been focusing on the company's football investment in Ligue 1 side Nice, where the group have achieved limited success.

Sir Dave Brailsford's record overseeing Ligue 1 side Nice
Image: Sir Dave Brailsford's record overseeing Ligue 1 side Nice

Is Ratcliffe's deal getting closer?

An indication that Ratcliffe's deal for United is getting closer is a report from Bloomberg which claims INEOS will hold a credit update call on Monday at 3pm to update shareholders. The petrochemicals company is not commenting.

Thursday's Manchester United board meeting was standard practice and has not been called to specifically discuss this deal. They are usually partly virtual because the Glazer family are based in the United States.

It is also unlikely there will be a resolution to the strategic review which sparked the long-winded takeover race involving Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim after it was announced last November.

The Qatari bid led by Sheikh Jassim withdrew from the process last weekend eight months after initially declaring its plans for buying Man Utd. This, it is thought, was the only offer for 100 per cent of the club.

Ratcliffe initially wanted to buy the Glazers' 69 per cent shareholding, but has agreed to leave the American family with their majority stake ahead of a potential full takeover.

Timeline of Man Utd takeover process

  • November 22, 2022: The Glazers confirm they are open to a sale but say other options "including new investment" will be considered.
  • February 17, 2023: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani make rival bids for Man Utd takeover. Qatari wants to buy 100 per cent of the club.
  • February 18, 2023: US hedge fund Elliott Management lodge proposal for investment in Man Utd.
  • February 28, 2023: Glazers split on sale after bids fail to meet £6bn valuation.
  • March 5, 2023: Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe make it through to next stage of the process along with unnamed bidder.
  • March 10, 2023: Elliott Management make it through to the second stage of the Man Utd sale process.
  • March 16 & 17, 2023: Qatari group and Sir Jim Ratcliffe meet Raine Group at Old Trafford before being given access to detailed financial information. Sheikh Jassim stays away.
  • March 22, 2023: Raine extend deadline for second bids after requests from Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe. Elliott Management did make minority stake offer before the soft deadline.
  • March 23, 2023: Ratcliffe makes his second bid.
  • March 24, 2023: Sheikh Jassim makes his second bid.
  • April 11, 2023: The Glazers take the sale process to a third round with interested parties asked to submit final offers by end of April.
  • April 28, 2023: Sheikh Jassim makes world-record bid. Ratcliffe also makes his offer before the deadline.
  • May 16, 2023: Sheikh Jassim goes in with fourth bid close to £5bn. INEOS proposal values Man Utd at a higher price but is not for the whole club and would give Glazers chance to keep 20 per cent stake.
  • June 7, 2023: Sheikh Jassim submits a fifth improved bid.
  • October 14, 2023: Sheikh Jassim withdraws from process.

What impact have Ratcliffe and INEOS had at Nice?

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French football expert Jonathan Johnson explains how Sir Jim Ratcliffe's OGC Nice have faired under his ownership

French football expert Jonathan Johnson:

"It's been a bit of a mixed bag with INEOS and Ratcliffe at Nice so far. They have had their moments - they got to a French cup final a couple of years ago - but there's no tangible success for the operation at the moment.

"They have undergone a number of changes, notably with the addition of Jean-Claude Blanc, formerly of PSG and Juventus on the INEOS sporting set-up. But, generally speaking, on the football front, the project hasn't quite lived up to its initial expectations.

"They've had to walk back the initial plan of challenging for the Ligue 1 title to just hoping to qualify consistently for Europe. You could make an argument they haven't progressed as much as they should have done.

"One thing they have done very well is they've accrued a lot of talented young French players - Jean-Clair Todibo and Khephren Thuram are knocking on the door of the France national team.

"But there's a feeling Nice should have kicked on more than they have done since Ratcliffe's arrival.

"Sir Dave Brailsford has become more and more involved over the last couple of years and you assume he'll play a significant role for INEOS should they become majority owners of Man Utd one day, which you imagine has to be part of the new deal being done.

"Ratcliffe has been more involved of late. There has been a sense the Nice fans have grown tired of Ratcliffe's flirtations with some of the Premier League clubs that have been on the market in recent years. It started with Chelsea, there were tentative links with Liverpool...

"If it had been Man Utd first up, with that childhood/fan connection the Nice fans might have been a little bit more understanding. But now I think they've grown tired of these notions of acquiring what is considered a bigger club than Nice."

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