Sheikh Jassim's withdrawal from the bidding war for Manchester United has put Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the driving seat to become the new co-owner of the football club, even if it is for a minority stake. 

It was reported on Saturday that Jassim had held further talks with the Glazer family during the week but the Qatari outfit had later communicated to the Glazer's of their decision to withdraw from the process. 

On behalf of his Nine Two Foundation, Jassim had always maintained the intention to conduct a 100% takeover of the club, but the rejection to his latest offer saw his patience finally run out. 

It's reported that Ratcliffe's latest offer to obtain a 25% stake in the club has been agreed in principle, though it will be subject to a vote among the Man United board in the coming days. 

Ratcliffe's offer, meanwhile, is reportedly contingent on full sporting control, which is expected to be agreed once the vote is confirmed. 

(Photo by Valery Hache/ATP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Valery Hache/ATP via Getty Images)

What does this mean? 

The news denies fans of a clean separation from the Glazer's. Their long 18-year reign of the club has been protested and resisted by the Man United faithful. 

A mixture of opinion and emotion has rapidly circulated, with a large chunk of fans preferring a complete sale of the club, no matter who the buying party would be. 

Ratcliffe's proposal ultimately means the Glazer's will still have majority control of the club, though fans will hold hope that the English businessman will deliver on his promise of full control in the future. 

The potential of sporting control for Ratcliffe would help deal with one of the major issues that needs resolving. Man United have completely failed on the pitch in the last decade. 

Recruitment has completely gone amiss, with most additions classed as failings, whilst constant instability and insecurity have hampered the club's success.

(Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all ran into the same issues of uncertainty and a lack of interest in the sporting project from those at the top which ultimately led to their downfall at the club. 

Erik ten Hagmeanwhile, has encountered some of the structural problems that have existed since 2005. It's reported the Dutchman wasn't able to recruit all of his targets in the summer due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions, another result of the club's poor management and incompetence. 

Ratcliffe's arrival could spark a reshape in the hierarchy if his wishes of control over sporting decisions are granted. Chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough's positions are expected to be evaluated, though Ten Hag's position is said to be secure. 

It has been obvious for a long time that Man United need a reshuffle if they wish their sporting project becomes the best in the world. 

Proper football people are required to make the football decisions. The positions such as football director and technical director have been taken up frankly by individuals who are not up to scratch for Man United. 

Many Man United fans will remember when Ralf Rangnick was set to take the position of football consultant behind Ten Hag, whilst he once described the football operation needed would be like "open heart surgery."

(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The German was just describing on the pitch, whilst not even mentioning the mammoth job Ratcliffe would have to try and influence off the pitch. 

Is Ratcliffe the right man? 

It wouldn't be Ratcliffe's first rodeo investing in a sporting institution. His giant of a petrochemicals company Ineos famously owns 1/3 of the Mercedes F1 team, whilst he also owns French side Nice and Swiss side Lausanne-Sport

Man United, it has to be said, is still a footballing giant, despite recent failure and it would be unlike any other sporting organisation Ratcliffe has took on. 

His cycling, running and sailing teams are all focused on performance which is certainly an ethos that aligns with Man United who have been without footballing excellence since Alex Ferguson. 

It has been the exact thing that has been neglected at Man United for the past decade. High performance and excellence in every aspect has been pushed aside in favour of a successful business model. 

Ultimately it is what the Glazer's have shaped the club as during their tenure. A global brand, a moneymaking machine if you will. It has separated itself completely from being named as a football club. 

(Photo by Darren Staples/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Darren Staples/AFP via Getty Images)

If Ineos' ethos is to take shape in any organisation, it's Man United. The club has veered away from excellence, what was once a sporting giant is now a sleeping one. 

It must be the first thing on the agenda for Ratcliffe. A successful football operation must be put in place, with the correct personnel and principles. 

Though that just forms half the equation of the task. Ratcliffe must also tend to a failing infrastructure, with the training ground and stadium falling behind the top sides in Europe. 

The recent omission of Old Trafford from the venues at Euro 2028 marks just another sign of the complete failure that the Glazer's have overseen during their tenure.

Once the best in the world, Old Trafford is frankly rotting and is in dire need of a makeover. It does leave more questions than answers meanwhile for Ratcliffe, with it unclear how work on Old Trafford would be funded despite the promise to return the club to the top. 

(Photo by Jan Kruger via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jan Kruger via Getty Images)

The Ineos proposal ultimately has the view to a majority shareholding over time, and would likely remove the influence of the Glazer's in the future. 

Ratcliffe meanwhile did propose a further £1.7bn to be invested into the stadium and training centre, so on paper, the promises sound attractive but the Glazer's have been a clear example that actions speak louder than words. 

Now whether Ratcliffe is the man for the job remains to be seen, and we will only really know five years down the line. One thing is clear though, change is coming, and Man United fans will need to get behind the Ineos owner to help steer a huge shift in the club's history in a positive direction. 




About the author