Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag spoke with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford earlier this week to discuss plans for Manchester United moving forward. Molly Darlington/Reuters

Prior to Manchester United's FA Cup third-round tie with Wigan Athletic, manager Erik ten Hag revealed that he had met with the club's new minority investor, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and INEOS Director of Sport, Sir Dave Brailsford.

Ratcliffe and Brailsford visited Manchester United's Carrington training ground earlier in the week for the talks with ten Hag. The pair also met with some of the players from both the men's and women's teams as well as the club's women's team manager, Marc Skinner.

The Red Devils had a training session at Carrington overseen by Ratcliffe and Brailsford whilst the two also travelled to Old Trafford to meet up with club staff and held meetings regarding the wider vision for the club's future under their watch.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, ten Hag touched on how his meeting with the club's newest investors went. The Dutchman stated: "Very positive, I have to say. We had a long meeting, for many hours we sat together. I think also from both sides I can say that it was a very constructive meeting and we're looking forward to working with each other."

Ratcliffe and INEOS' purchase of 25 per cent of Manchester United came with the assurance of sporting operations being handed over to them from the majority owners, the Glazer family. Hence, big changes are set to be made to how the club's football department is run.

Manchester United's current sporting structure gives Ten Hag strong authority over footballing decisions and grants him full power over transfer decisions. It is widely reported that INEOS will hire new personnel to run the club's football department, which in turn may clash with ten Hag's current way of operating, casting some doubt over his future.

Ten Hag mentioned in his press conference that it is too early to say what sort of changes will be made once INEOS is settled as the new head of the football department. He said: "They're just coming in, they're just introducing themselves, they have good ideas. We have to see what we can integrate, in togetherness, we will work, but after one day, you can't tell that."

The Manchester United manager went on to add: "They (INEOS) have given me a few (ideas). We have had our debates, our points about strategies, and I think we will come together."

Further talks are expected to be held in the coming weeks between INEOS and Manchester United's current personnel so that more concrete plans about the club's long-term vision can be clearly laid out. Major changes to the club's structure cannot be carried out quite yet as the Premier League has not officially approved Ratcliffe and INEOS' minority purchase, with it possibly set to take between six to eight weeks for confirmation.

The wait for the Premier League's approval on the takeover likely hinders Manchester United's chances of doing any business in the January transfer window, as the new sporting department is likely to not be fully integrated and set up. Also, INEOS may be against ten Hag's requests for players he wants as they may have a differing view of the type of players that need to be recruited by the club.

The most likely scenario where Manchester United bring in new players this month is through the loan market, as those types of deals do not warrant any purchase fee and are not necessarily representative of the club's wider recruitment philosophy. The club has made loan signings in January in the past as last year saw Marcel Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst be brought in on loan deals until the end of the season.

Expected outgoings from Old Trafford in January include Jadon Sancho, who has been absent from the senior team since a public falling out with ten Hag earlier in the season. The English winger looks set to rejoin Borussia Dortmund on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The summer transfer window will be targeted as the soonest opportunity to improve Manchester United's playing squad and start enforcing change to how the club's football department functions. By then INEOS will most likely have the sporting structure set to their preference.