Manchester United are unlikely to appoint Jean-Claude Blanc as the club’s new chief executive once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion investment goes through, according to reports. The Red Devils could instead opt for a candidate of a similar ilk to Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold, with the Glazer family still in control of such a decision.
The Premier League is expected to ratify Ratcliffe’s deal for a 25 per cent stake in United next month, which will transfer control over all football operations from the Glazers.
INEOS are reportedly completing a thorough audit ahead of a shake-up to the sporting structure at Old Trafford, involving new appointments in the hierarchy.
Among those will be a new chief executive after Arnold walked away from the role at the end of 2023 as his relationship with the Glazers hit breaking point.
But fresh reports indicate that the decision on a new CEO won’t be down to Ratcliffe, unlike expected moves for a new sporting director and head of recruitment.
Blanc, a former Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus executive, has been strongly tipped to succeed Arnold in the hot seat once Ratcliffe’s investment was official.
The Frenchman – who has been described as the Lionel Messi of business – was in attendance at the Boxing Day win against Aston Villa and Monday’s FA Cup triumph in Wigan.
However, according to The Athletic, while he will be under consideration, figures at United and INEOS have poured cold water on the prospect of Blanc becoming the club’s CEO.
It’s claimed that Blanc is expected to act as INEOS’ eyes and ears around Old Trafford and Carrington as a regular presence rather than taking up the official role.
United supporters hoping Ratcliffe and INEOS’ inheritance of sporting control means they now hold power over such a matter are set to be disappointed.
While INEOS have two seats on the PLC board – likely to be filled by Sir Dave Brailsford and Blanc – the six Glazer siblings remain the majority owners with superior voting rights.
INEOS will have a say in the decision, though, as will the other five members of the 13-person board: interim CEO Patrick Stewart, chief financial officer Cliff Baty and independent directors Robert Leitao, Manu Sawhney and John Hooks.
The mould of the CEO that United are looking for remains to be seen. The Glazers may lean towards a Woodward-style figure with elite business acumen but little football pedigree.
Ratcliffe and INEOS’ desired candidate would likely possess sporting know-how to help form a streamlined structure once their operation is in full flow.
United’s stakeholders must form in unison to come to a decision that will balance the benefits on both sides of the business.