The next casualty of the Sir Jim Ratcliffe era at Manchester United has been named, and his replacement is poised to come from a six-man shortlist, per reports.
The British billionaire, 71, is primed to purchase a 25 percent stake in Man Utd worth roughly £1.3bn. Ratcliffe will assume full sporting control at the club and will not hesitate to force major change at Old Trafford.
One figure who will be spared is manager Erik ten Hag. Ratcliffe and INEOS chief Sir Dave Brailsford were labelled ‘alarmed’ by United’s dip this season by ESPN, though the pair don’t believe Ten Hag is the problem.
Instead, Ratcliffe has taken a particularly ‘dim view’ of the club’s recruitment process. Elsewhere, The Sun claimed a squad ‘reset’ is coming and TEAMtalk has confirmed Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial will be among the first to leave in January.
Changes at boardroom level are already in full swing. Indeed, it was announced last week that CEO Richard Arnold would step down before the year is out.
Legal counsel Patrick Stewart has taken the role on an interim basis. His long-term successor could be former PSG official, Jean Claude-Blanc.
Another senior United figure, John Murtough, was labelled ‘vulnerable’ by The Telegraph.
Now, according to a fresh update from The Manchester Evening News, Murtough’s time is up.
A well-connected source is quoted by the outlet as saying Murtough is “definitely going”.
The 52-year-old was appointed as Man Utd’s Director of Football back in 2021. Less than three years later it appears the end is nigh.
Ratcliffe has reportedly held virtual meetings with co-chairman Joel Glazer. Ratcliffe outlined ‘probable personnel changes’ during the talks and it appears Murtough was among those in the firing line.
Murtough might not be the last United official to be relieved of his duties either. Per the report, ‘it is understood more changes are planned behind the scenes at United, with the INEOS delegation unimpressed by other departmental strategies.’
Who will replace Murtough?
On the subject of who could replace Murtough and usher in a new recruitment strategy, six names are reportedly under consideration.
According to The Telegraph, the six are Dougie Freedman (Crystal Palace), Atalanta’s Lee Congerton, former AC Milan pair Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara, and Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta. The final option is former Tottenham and Monaco chief, Paul Mitchell.
The Telegraph revealed Ratcliffe will take guidance from legendary United icon Sir Alex Ferguson when making key decisions at the club. Appointing a new Director of Football certainly fits that billing.
Ferguson’s influence could give the upper hand to Freedman who is a long-time ally of Ferguson’s. Freedman, 49, used to be neighbours with Ferguson when the pair both lived in Cheshire.
Freedman has served as sporting director at Crystal Palace since 2017. He was instrumental in securing the masterstroke signings of Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise.