Manchester United
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS will oversee the football operations at Manchester United from now on. Craig Brough/Reuters

Significant changes are set to be made at Manchester United as the club gears up for a new direction after INEOS Chairman and CEO, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, recently acquired a 25 per cent stake in the club for just over £1 billion.

After much speculation of the minority takeover, the purchase was officially announced a little over a week ago, with Ratcliffe and INEOS, assuming full control of football operations at Manchester United. The Glazer family will remain as the majority owners of the club.

Ratcliffe and INEOS Director of Sport, Sir Dave Brailsford, are keen to address the failings of Manchester United in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and crucial to that will be making significant changes to how the football department is run and hiring new personnel to oversee these adjustments.

INEOS is believed to favour Paul Mitchell and Dan Ashworth for key roles at Manchester United moving forward, with the pair having been heavily linked to the club recently. Mitchell is reportedly being eyed for the club's Head of Recruitment position whilst Ashworth is viewed as the prime choice for the role of Sporting Director.

Mitchell is highly regarded due to his impressive recruitment work at Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, RB Leipzig and AS Monaco. Ashworth also has a strong reputation due to his directorial work with West Bromwich Albion, Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United as well as his work with the Football Association (FA).

Ashworth may be difficult to hire as he is currently Newcastle's Sporting Director and has been a key part of the club's executive board since being appointed in February 2022. His role has been crucial in turning around Newcastle's fortunes on the pitch since the club was taken over by a Saudi Arabian-led consortium in October 2021.

The potential arrivals of Mitchell and Ashworth likely spell the end for Manchester United's current Football Director, John Murtough, who has been in the role since March 2021. It is also unclear what sort of role the current Technical Director, Darren Fletcher, will have at the club under the new football structure at Old Trafford.

There is set to be a change in the CEO position at the club after Richard Arnold stepped down from the role in the latter part of last year. Former Juventus CEO and Paris Saint Germain marketing executive Jean-Claude Blanc is set to take over from Arnold in what will be a major reshuffle of the club's hierarchy.

The desire for Ratcliffe and INEOS to bring in new football experts across Manchester United and overhaul the sporting direction of the club is somewhat in conflict with the current status of the club's operations.

Current manager Erik ten Hag has large authority and control over the transfer business which the club conducts as it was among his requirements when taking up the job in 2022. This means ten Hag currently has the power to veto any transfer decisions and have the final say regarding the club's transfer activity.

However, this choice to hand ten Hag such authority over the club's transfer dealings has come under fire, with many highlighting the poor business which has been conducted under the Dutchman's watch. In particular, the £86 million signing of ten Hag's former winger at Ajax, Antony, in 2022, has led to much criticism due to the Brazilian's inconsistent performances.

Also, the signing of Mason Mount from Chelsea for £60 million raised eyebrows, as the player had just 12 months left on his contract when he joined the club last summer. The English midfielder is yet to justify his price tag as he has missed many games through injury and has yet to register a goal or assist for his new club.

The Red Devils also splashed out £70 million on Real Madrid's Casemiro in 2022, with the player being 30 at the time of his arrival. Despite the Brazilian having put in excellent displays for Manchester United last season, the deal has still been regarded as an error considering it is just a short-term signing and due to the transfer fee, will not present great value overall.

Despite no current suggestions of ten Hag's position being under threat, the difference in approach to sporting decisions between the Dutchman and INEOS may lead to ten Hag not being the man to lead Manchester United in the long term.

Ten Hag's job is already under threat due to Manchester United's poor form on the pitch, with the club eighth in the Premier League and having finished bottom of its UEFA Champions League group. In total, the Red Devils have lost 14 games in all competitions so far this season.

If this dire spell continues, the new football department under Ratcliffe may have little choice but to make a managerial change and appoint a manager that fits their vision better than ten Hag.