Man Utd takeover: Ornstein predicts Ratcliffe ‘end goal’; ‘roadmap’ to oust the Glazer family mooted

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd takeover
Sir Jim Ratcliffe outside Old Trafford.

David Ornstein does not think Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s “end goal” will simply be to be a minority stakeholder of Premier League giants Manchester United.

The Red Devils have been on the market for over a year and the takeover process is now finally nearing a conclusion.

Ratcliffe has been battling Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim for most of the last year but the latter has withdrawn his interest in the Premier League outfit.

Sheikh Jassim was only ever interested in a full takeover, while Ratcliffe has been open to changing his proposal to make it more appealing to the Glazer family.

It is understood that an agreement is in place for Ratcliffe to purchase a 25% stake in Man Utd for around £1.25bn.

It is now only a matter of time before this deal is completed and while Ratcliffe will not immediately become United’s majority stakeholder, he will take control of footballing matters at Old Trafford right away.

Chief executive Richard Arnold will be moving on before 2024 and he is expected to be followed by the director of football John Murtough as Ratcliffe oversees a major overhaul.

During a Q&A for The Athletic, Ornstein was asked if he thinks “Ratcliffe will have a concrete route to majority ownership at Manchester United as part of his deal with the Glazers”.

He answered: “I assume he wouldn’t be coming in with 25% and sporting control as the end goal.”

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“That makes me think there will be a roadmap of sorts but, if so, I’m not sure if that will be formal or not at this stage. The complexity and time it is taking to finalise the initial deal suggests any further steps will take way longer to put in place.

“Perhaps there is a framework of sorts but I wouldn’t expect to hear anything formal on that for the time being and remember Man Utd are listed on the NYSE so anything of this nature would need to be notified there first.

“That said, it’s something I’m certain Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be asked about if/when he speaks publicly.

“Some inside the club were initially expecting there might be an announcement on the Friday before Sir Bobby Charlton’s funeral and the INEOS targeted early in the next week (after the funeral). That didn’t happen and now the USA is in Thanksgiving mode, so it will be next week at the earliest.

“It’s clearly very complex but we are led to believe everything is on track and it is a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the investment will be confirmed.”