Ratcliffe Draws Up 5 Man Shortlist As He Considers New United Sporting Director

Ratcliffe Draws Up 5 Man Shortlist As He Considers New United Sporting Director

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has identified a number of candidates to become Manchester United’s next sporting director if he takes over footballing operations at the club, according to The Athletic.

The British billionaire is expected to buy 25% of the team, on the proviso that he gets a say on sporting matters, and there are set to be major changes in United’s senior management as a result.

In his role as Football Director, John Murtough has been given the responsibility by the Glazers for dealing with transfers and contracts.

However, if Ratcliffe’s arrival is confirmed after a board meeting later this week, Murtough’s position at the club could be placed in serious jeopardy.

Who are the 5 candidates on Ratcliffe’s shortlist?

Former Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell is among the options. As well as working at Southampton, Tottenham and the Red Bull Group of clubs over the years, he spent three seasons in the south of France before quitting his job earlier this year.

Jean-Claude Blanc could be considered too. The Frenchman has worked for Paris Saint-Germain, as well as having spent a number of years as chief executive of Juventus. He is currently CEO of INEOS’s whole sporting empire, which includes their cycling team and Ligue One club Nice.

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth is also under consideration, although it would be difficult to prise him away from the Magpies, who are funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Ex-Liverpool sporting directors Michael Edwards and Julian Ward have been mentioned as other potential alternatives, although it is not certain whether they would consider working for a direct rival of their former employers.

Ratcliffe is a fierce critic of United’s transfer business

One of the reasons why there is a general acceptance that Murtough will be sacked by Ratcliffe is due to the INEOS owner’s comments back in 2019. In an interview, he described United’s business in the transfer market as “shockingly poor”.

He used the term “dumb money” to describe the sheer amount of funds wasted on signings since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. It suggests big changes are afoot if he takes control of matters on the pitch.

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David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.