Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposed £1.3bn purchase of a 25% share in Manchester United is unlikely to have much impact on the club’s ability to spend in the transfer market.
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The United board is expected this week to approve a deal to make the British billionaire a minority shareholder. Ratcliffe would take over running the sporting side of the business but financial fair play (FFP) restrictions make it difficult for any investor to provide extra resources for use on signings.
Ratcliffe and his team were shown the long-term vision in place at United in presentations made to them during the bidding process. They were given a picture of the progress made under Erik ten Hag and where the football operation is aiming to improve.
The six Glazer siblings, who are the majority shareholders, will vote with six other board members on whether to accept a deal with Ratcliffe, who has experience of running sports teams, owning Ineos cycling and Ligue 1’s Nice.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has experience of running sporting teams in the form of Ineos Grenadiers and Nice. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
This summer United spent about £177m on players, paying transfer fees for André Onana, Rasmus Højlund, Mason Mount and Altay Bayindir, signing Sergio Reguilón and Sofyan Amrabat on loan and getting Jonny Evans for free.
United tend to do only minor business in January and money is available for next summer regardless of any deal with Ratcliffe. Ten Hag is keen to not have too big a squad, even though a large number of injuries at the start of this season has left United short in certain areas, but will be keen to strengthen. Players surplus to requirements will be put up for sale to help bolster the budget.
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One player who will not be part of United’s plans next season is Mason Greenwood. The 21-year-old joined Getafe on a season’s loan in the summer after it was decided he should continue his career away from Old Trafford at the end of a six-month internal investigation into allegations against the striker, and the club will stand by their decision not to make him available to Ten Hag.
Greenwood’s Manchester United contract runs until 2025 but he will not be permitted to reintegrate into the squad after his loan at Getafe, leaving the club open to selling him next summer.
The player was arrested in January 2022 and charged that October with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Greenwood denied all the charges and they were dropped in February when the Crown Prosecution Service said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation and new evidence had come to light.
Greenwood has made five appearances for Getafe and scored his first goal in a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo in their most recent fixture.