According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, as Ratcliffe’s deal to acquire 25% of Manchester United’s shares approaches, Ineos’ Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc met at Old Trafford on Thursday. Rufford met with Manchester United senior management.
Once Ratcliffe’s stake purchase is approved, Ineos’ sporting directors Brailsford and Blanc will be actively involved in the reform of Manchester United’s football operations.
Manchester United director of football John Murtaugh and interim chief executive Patrick Stewart attended the meeting.
Brailsford previously served as performance director at British Cycling, while Blanc served as CEO of Juventus and then marketing executive in Paris before joining Ineos in December.
Brailsford and Blanc visited Old Trafford in March, along with Ratcliffe, as they weighed up a bid for the club. Thursday’s meeting is an important step in the process and forms part of a field mission that is expected to confirm the acquisition of the 25% stake before Christmas.
Ratcliffe will take control of Manchester United’s sporting affairs as part of a wider off-field reorganization once the £1.3bn takeover is confirmed.
Richard Arnold’s imminent departure from Manchester United was confirmed in November, with Stewart taking over as chief executive on an interim basis after taking over the day-to-day affairs of the club.
Blanc has been linked with the long-term role as United chief executive, but it’s unclear whether the terms of Ratcliffe’s deal would allow him to put his own man in the role, as it stipulates he will be primarily responsible for football operations rather than the overall business. .
The competition between Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim had been a battle between the two powers before Qatar Group said it was withdrawing from the competition in early October.