Pep Guardiola has thanked Sir Jim Ratcliffe for ‘helping him do his job’ by stating his admiration for Manchester City.

New Manchester United co-owner Ratcliffe recently spoke of his ambition to knock neighbours City, and another of their rivals in Liverpool, “off their perch”.

Yet in doing so he conceded United had fallen well behind both of those clubs and admitted much could be learned from their success.

He even went as far as to say City’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-finals was “the best quality of football I’ve ever seen”.

Guardiola says such compliments are a source of pride and feed his continuing desire for success.

The City manager, whose side host United on Sunday, said: “I just say thank you so much.

“Sometimes they are more than the titles, the compliments of the personalities that make this country, like Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s comments. It is a complete honour for us.

“One can produce emotions and feelings for the players and our rivals. That helps to do our job. Thank you so much on behalf of all of us.

“But I am sure tomorrow they will try, one way or another, to inoculate the Man Utd players with the best performance to try to beat us.”

This weekend’s derby could be a key encounter for champions City in their bid to win a fourth successive Premier League title.

Considering their recent superiority over their neighbours, and United’s inconsistency this season, City are expected to come out on top but Guardiola is wary of the pitfalls of the fixture.

He said: “Do you remember when United went to Anfield this season? Last season it was 7-0.

“Remember the comments? How many goal are Liverpool going to score? It would be easy for Liverpool.

“What was the result? Liverpool didn’t win.

“It is United. The past is the past. Tomorrow it is 11 players with pride, with a manager – we cannot deny how good he has done in the past in Amsterdam – trying to do his best.

“In different situations, with City in the position of United, I know my players would behave at Old Trafford with pride and the best character. It is going to happen to United on Sunday.

“It will be a tough game, another final for us. I know how difficult it will be.

“It has been more difficult here than at Old Trafford in our period together. We lost more (derby) games here than Old Trafford. We have to perform really well to do it.”

Manchester United can learn from Manchester City’s success but will not try to copy their methods, according to manager Erik Ten Hag.

United head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for the Manchester derby once again a long way adrift of their neighbours in the Premier League.

A restructuring of United’s football hierarchy is under way following the investment made by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, with their first move to bring in Omar Berrada from City as chief executive.

Ten Hag said: “I think you can always learn from opponents who are successful and you have to do it if you want to go to high levels but, at the same time, we have to do it in a United way.

“This is a different club with a different environment, with a different DNA. But you pick up things that can be successful and you integrate it in your own model.”

Ratcliffe wasted no time setting out his ambitions for United, arguing they can knock City and Liverpool “off their perch” in three years.

United went into the weekend sitting 15 points below City and 16 adrift of Liverpool but Ten Hag insists he welcomes Ratcliffe setting public targets.

“It helps,” said the Dutchman. “We have to show ambition. We want to be the best and that is what United stands for. But, at the same time, we know also where we are now.

“We also have seen that there are moments where we go toe-to-toe. That’s the belief we have as a team. We have to pick up these moments and we have to prove it in every game. I think we are able to with this squad we have.”

United have lost five of their last six matches against City, including a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad last season and a 3-0 home loss in October.

“At this moment I have a lot of respect for them but not the respect that we think we can’t win this game,” said Ten Hag.

“On the contrary, we will show we can win this game. In the (FA) Cup final, we showed we were very close. Also first half at Old Trafford in the home game before that crazy VAR moment changes the game completely.

“The second half we didn’t play well and they played very well, so don’t let them come into the game, that is I think what we have to take with us for Sunday.”

Ahead of the last derby, City boss Pep Guardiola said Liverpool rather than United were his side’s biggest rivals, and Ten Hag added: “The last decade, that is the way it went.

“I think it’s a fair assessment. But we can’t accept this as a club. We have to bounce back. As Sir Jim says, we have to show ambition, we want to be the number one. I think that’s a good ambition.”

The president of La Liga says he “doesn’t care” about Mason Greenwood’s past and wants the Manchester United forward to stay in Spain beyond this season.

The 22-year-old faced charges including attempted rape and assault but the Crown Prosecution Service announced in February last year that the case had been discontinued.

He moved to Getafe on loan last summer, and La Liga chief Javier Tebas has been impressed with him to such a degree he hopes he stays for the longer term.

“He’s doing really well at Getafe as a player and I hope he continues to be successful and he continues to stay in Spanish football because that’s always good for us,” Tebas told a media briefing at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit on Thursday.

“He is just another player. He had a past, but not a past we can do anything about. He was innocent and wasn’t condemned. We can’t be judges for everything. If we did that, we’d have no teams.

“I’m a lawyer, so it’s important to say he is not condemned. He was acquitted here (in the UK). Should we have reopened the case in Spain? Do I know the case in great detail? No.

“Greenwood was not condemned, so I don’t care.”

Manchester United’s co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe said last week that a fresh decision would be made on Greenwood this summer now that Ineos has been delegated control of football operations at Old Trafford.

Reports last year that United were planning to retain him following an internal investigation were met by public outcry and Ratcliffe acknowledges that a decision will have to be made when Greenwood returns about what happens next – but insists nothing has been finalised yet.

“It’s quite clear we have to make a decision. There is no decision that’s been made,” Ratcliffe said at a media briefing to mark the completion of his purchase of a minority stake in United.

Asked asked if the Greenwood situation would be a “fresh decision”, Ratcliffe said: “Yeah we will. Absolutely. We will make a decision, and we will justify it one way or the other.”

Ratcliffe added: “He’s on loan obviously, but he’s not the only one – we’ve got one or two footballers that we have to deal with and we have to make a decision on, so we will do that.”

Erik ten Hag insists he does not need a public vote of confidence from Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Speculation has been rife about the future of the Dutchman as Manchester United manager following investment in the club from Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group.

A promising run of results ended with a poor performance in defeat against Fulham last weekend, putting the focus back on Ten Hag’s position.

That will ratchet up again should United fail to beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday in the FA Cup, which is their only remaining chance of silverware this season.

Ten Hag said: “I’m here, I’m under contract for three seasons, so I don’t care. I’m only focusing on the process so I don’t care what’s going around me.

“I have many talks with Jim Ratcliffe but especially also with Sir Dave Brailsford so I know what we are talking about. I have a strong belief and I feel that they believe in me.

“I’m just focusing on the team and I have to find solutions for this team that they perform in the best way they can. It’s all about focusing on this and don’t get distracted by any noise.

“We’re talking about the future, we’re talking about a future together.”

Ten Hag’s tactics and recruitment have attracted criticism, with the performances of Brazil winger Antony particularly under the spotlight.

The 24-year-old cost more than £80million when he followed Ten Hag from Ajax to Old Trafford in 2022 but he has been a peripheral figure this season, with his only goal coming against Newport in the FA Cup.

Against Fulham, teenager Omari Forson started on the right and Amad Diallo was also sent on ahead of Antony, who only came off the bench in the 89th minute.

Antony took a leave of absence earlier in the season to address allegations of domestic abuse in Brazil, which he denied, and Ten Hag believes that had an effect on his form.

“Now he left this behind but for a moment in the season it had absolutely an impact on him and you could see in his performance, in his attitude,” said the United boss.

“But now he’s back. Of course it affected him and the process is still going, now he has to turn the point and to bring his big potential again in.

“You have to fight and you have to give every day the maximum. I see in the training he’s doing (that) so he will turn a corner.

“When the issue was in Brazil, he came back and he wasn’t any more the person like he was before, and that did something with his belief.

“One of the big skills from Antony is that he’s very brave. He has to find that back and that’s up to him. We will support him, absolutely all the staff, me as a manager. I have 100 per cent belief in him.”

Pep Guardiola has bluntly responded to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s aim to knock Manchester City “off their perch” by pointing out he speaks “the truth”.

Ratcliffe completed his purchase of a 27.7 per cent in Manchester United this week and immediately set out his ambitions to restore the club to the top of the English and European game.

He did this by reprising the language of Sir Alex Ferguson, who similarly pledged to rein in Liverpool in his early days as manager at Old Trafford.

United have won just one trophy compared to City’s 14 in the past six seasons and Guardiola feels Ratcliffe’s acceptance of the Blues’ current pre-eminent status is the Red Devils’ first step towards a fightback.

The City manager said: “It’s the truth! As (soon) as the teams admit it, they will be closer to us.

“If they want to deny it for things that are not the reality then it’s their problem. It’s not our problem.

“When I’ve been below teams I’ve always admired them and thought about what we need to do to be close, to challenge them.

“If they want to be judged on things they are comfortable with for one day they will not arrive where we are now.

“When we were below and United were winning, we were watching them, admiring them. We wanted to learn from them.

“The period of Sir Alex Ferguson – the generation with Roy Keane, David Beckham, Gary Neville – and all those big, big players, Rio Ferdinand – I’m pretty sure City admired and thought ‘we want to be there’. Now we are there.

“That’s why, for these type of comments, that I have the feeling that they will be back.”

While Guardiola now expects United to improve under the guidance of Ratcliffe, who has taken control of footballing operations at Old Trafford, he insisted it was not something that concerned him.

The Spaniard said: “It’s not about (being) worried. I’m pretty sure with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the other people that United are going to take a step forwards.

“I feel that they know exactly what they have to do, appoint the people they need to appoint with their experience in the business world to make projects better.

“But that is normal. It’s not just United. All the teams want it. We want to be there and as long as I’m here, we will try to be there again.

“What I want is Man City, my team, being there. The rest, I don’t care.”

Second-placed City travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday with a chance to cut the gap to leaders Liverpool to one point in what is their game in hand.

Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne was not risked in the midweek win over Brentford due to what Guardiola described as “niggles”.

He would not confirm if he would return this weekend but said he was “pretty sure he will travel”.

Guardiola said: “He’s good. He’s not injured. He’s better but I don’t know if he’s 100 per cent. I think we took a good decision not to take a risk.”

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has set out his vision for bringing some of the Eric Cantona glamour and swagger back to Old Trafford.

The 71-year-old Ineos founder and chairman wants the club he has supported since the age of six to be seriously challenging their “noisy” north-west neighbours Manchester City and Liverpool for domestic and European titles within three seasons, and “knock them both off their perch”.

In a wide-ranging briefing, Ratcliffe also:

:: Outlined his hope to either redevelop Old Trafford at a cost of around £1billion, or build a new £2billion stadium with state support that could host England matches, FA Cup finals and Champions League finals.

:: Admitted Dan Ashworth would be “a very good addition” to the Manchester United leadership as sporting director and said it would be “absurd” if he remained on gardening leave after his departure from Newcastle.

:: Pledged that a fresh decision would be taken on Mason Greenwood’s future.

:: Joked about whether Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim, his long-time rival for full control of United, even existed.

Ratcliffe, who by the end of the year will hold a 28.9 per cent stake in United and whose Ineos company now controls football operations at Old Trafford, conducted the interview with a bust wearing a United number seven shirt stationed behind him, collar turned up in the fashion of the club’s hero of the 1990s Eric Cantona.

“(Cantona) was the catalyst for change in Sir Alex Ferguson’s era … and then that sort of kickstarted everything off. He was the sort of talisman,” Ratcliffe said.

“There has always been a bit of glamour attached to Manchester United which has been lacking a bit in the last few years. You’ve had George Best, Bobby Charlton, Eric the King for a while.

“At the end of the day we are in the entertainment business. So that’s why you don’t want to watch bland football or characterless football.

“And to be honest, since Christmas, with the young lads, they have played some fantastic football.

“There have been some great matches. I can’t remember many matches at the beginning of the season I was really excited by but since Christmas we have played some really good football and there has been a bit of glamour attached to some of these footballers on the pitch, and we have really enjoyed it.

“The three young lads (Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo) sitting on the hoarding at the side – that was a good picture. So I think that’s the ‘Eric’ point really. We are cognizant of the fact you do need a bit of glamour in this.”

Ratcliffe says improving the club’s record on recruitment is “top of the list” of things to get right, and publicly stated his club’s interest in Dan Ashworth, who has been placed on gardening leave by Newcastle after expressing his desire to leave the Tyneside club.

“I think it’d be a very good addition to Manchester United, but he (Ashworth) needs to decide whether he’s going to make that jump,” Ratcliffe said.

“We’ve obviously had words with Newcastle. They clearly would be disappointed to lose Dan. I understand why they would be disappointed to lose Dan but but then you can’t equally criticise Dan because it is a transient industry.

“So we’ll have to see how it unfolds.”

Ratcliffe said it would be “a bit silly” if it took £20million to secure Ashworth’s services, and added: “What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting that a man who’s really good at his job, sits in his garden for one and a half years.”

Also key to the transformation as Ratcliffe sees it is a redeveloped Old Trafford or a new stadium built partially with state support.

Ratcliffe said a taskforce would be set up to look at the feasibility of the latter option and agreed former Manchester United defender Gary Neville would be an “obvious” person to include on it.

Ratcliffe sees no issue with one of the world’s richest clubs in United seeking state support for such a project.

“The people in the north pay their taxes like the people in the south pay their taxes,” he said.

“But where’s the national stadium for football? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for rugby? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for tennis? It’s in the south. Where’s the national concert stadium? It’s the O2, it’s in the south. Where’s the Olympic Village? It’s in the south.

“All of this talk about levelling up and the Northern Powerhouse… where is the stadium in the north? How many Champions Leagues has the north-west won and how many Champions Leagues has London won? The answer to that is the north-west has won 10 – Liverpool have won more than us – and London has won two.

“Where do you have to go if you get to the semi-final of the FA Cup and you’re a northern club? You have to schlep down to London, don’t you?

“People in the north pay their taxes and there is an argument that you could think about a more ambitious project in the north which would be fitting for England, for the Champions League final or the FA Cup final and act as a catalyst to regenerate southern Manchester, which has got quite significant history in the UK.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United will make a fresh decision on the future of forward Mason Greenwood and will “justify it one way or the other”.

Greenwood, who is on loan at Spanish side Getafe, was suspended by United on January 30, 2022 over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online.

The now 22-year-old faced charges including attempted rape and assault but the Crown Prosecution Service announced in February last year that the case had been discontinued.

Reports last year that United were planning to retain him following an internal investigation were met by public outcry and Ratcliffe acknowledges that a decision will have to be made when Greenwood returns about what happens next – but insists nothing has been finalised yet.

“It’s quite clear we have to make a decision. There is no decision that’s been made,” Ratcliffe said at a media briefing to mark the completion of his purchase of a minority stake in United which delegates control of football operations to his company Ineos.

Asked asked if the Greenwood situation would be a “fresh decision”, Ratcliffe said: “Yeah we will. Absolutely. We will make a decision, and we will justify it one way or the other.”

Ratcliffe added: “He’s on loan obviously, but he’s not the only one – we’ve got one or two footballers that we have to deal with and we have to make a decision on, so we will do that.

“The process will be – understand the facts, not the hype, and then try and come to a fair decision on the basis of values, which is basically: is he a good guy or not?

“Could he play sincerely for Manchester United, (play) well and we’d be comfortable with it and the fans would be comfortable with it.”

Greenwood is under contract at United until the summer of 2025.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe admits Dan Ashworth would make a “very good addition” to Manchester United as sporting director and says it would be “absurd” if he was forced to serve an extended period of garden leave.

Ashworth has been placed on leave by Newcastle after informing the club that he had chosen to leave his role as their sporting director.

Manchester United co-owner Ratcliffe has confirmed United’s interest in Ashworth and hoped a sensible solution could be worked out.

“I think Dan Ashworth is clearly one of the top sporting directors in the world. I’ve no doubt he’s a very, very capable person,” Ratcliffe said on Wednesday after completing his purchase of a minority stake in United which will rise to 28.9 per cent by year’s end.

“And he’s interested in the Manchester United job because it’s probably the biggest sporting director job in the world just now, with the biggest challenge.

“It would be different if you were sporting director at Manchester City, because you’re just maintaining a level. With Manchester United, you’ve got quite a significant building job.

“I think it’d be a very good addition to Manchester United, but he needs to decide whether he’s going to make that jump.

“We’ve obviously had words with Newcastle. They clearly would be disappointed to lose Dan. I understand why they would be disappointed to lose Dan but but then you can’t equally criticise Dan because it is a transient industry.

“So we’ll have to see how it unfolds.”

Ratcliffe said it would be “a bit silly” if it took £20million to secure Ashworth’s services, and added: “What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting that a man who’s really good at his job, sits in his garden for one and a half years.

“I mean, that’s completely stupid. We had a very grown-up conversation with Manchester City about Omar (Berrada, who will become United’s new chief executive). Things calmed up and we sorted it out very amicably.

“They could see why Omar wanted to take on that challenge and they didn’t want to stand in his way.

“You look at (Manchester City manager) Pep (Guardiola) with his footballers, if you’ve got a footballer that doesn’t want to play for Manchester City, then he says ‘fine, you can leave’ but he doesn’t tell him, ‘I want you to sit in the garden for four and a half years’.

“That’s not the way the UK works, or at least not the way the law works in the UK, either. It supports a period of time which is sensible and fair, but not silly periods of time.”

Ratcliffe admitted recruitment was “top of the list” in achieving his goal of returning to the pinnacle of the English and European game within three years.

“I think recruitment in the modern game is critical,” he said.

“Manchester United have clearly spent a lot of money but they haven’t done as well as some other clubs. So when I was talking about being best in class in all aspects of football, recruitment is clearly top of the list.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United’s journey back to the top of world football starts now after completing his £1.3billion deal to become minority owner of the Premier League giants

A year and three months after the club announced a strategic review, and 58 days after a deal was struck, there is finally a new power structure in place at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of 25 per cent of the shares owned by the Glazer family, who have been United’s majority owners since their controversial leveraged buyout in 2005.

The Ineos chairman paid 33 US dollars (£26) for each of those shares and the same price for 25 per cent of Class A shares, with 10 times fewer voting rights, following a tender process.

Ratcliffe takes control of football operations as part of the deal and plans to ramp up United’s rebuild after his team looked under the hood and began to make moves during the ratification process.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility,” the British billionaire said.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Faltering United have not added to their England record 20 league titles since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, winning just four major trophies in that period.

The Red Devils have lost their way under the Glazer family and Ratcliffe’s involvement brings new hope to Old Trafford.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

Ratcliffe’s ownership of United stands at 27.7 per cent as further shares were issued in return for his initial 200m US dollars (£158.5m) capital investment upon completion.

His ownership will increase to 28.9 per cent when he invests a further 100million US dollars (£79.2m) by December 31, 2024.

The outlay from Trawlers Ltd, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe, is worth a total of 1.65bn US dollars (£1.3bn).

That deal received Premier League and Football Association approval last week and was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The 71-year-old, who was born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was a United fan growing up and has been a regular presence around the club since the deal was announced on Christmas Eve.

That included Ratcliffe attending United’s Premier League match against Tottenham on January 14 and the Munich air disaster memorial at Old Trafford on February 6.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos’ director of sport, has been an even greater presence and is set for a key role as Ineos takes control of football operations.

Changes have already started and United raised eyebrows across the football world last month when announcing Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as their new chief executive.

United are hoping to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth as part of their rebuild. The former Football Association technical director has been placed on garden leave after telling the Magpies he was leaving.

The completion of the deal marks the conclusion of a saga which began back in November 2022 when the Glazers announced plans for a strategic review, which could include the sale of the club.

Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim were the front-runners when it became apparent a full sale would be considered, but the latter withdrew last October.

Ratcliffe’s focus shifted to the purchase of a significant minority stake, which has now finally been completed.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has become part owner of Manchester United as one of the UK’s richest men has bought a 27.7 per cent stake in the club he supported as a boy.

The billionaire has bought a share in the Old Trafford club in a long and drawn-out process after Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani withdrew his early interest in buying the club outright.

The 71-year-old has a reported net worth of £12.5bn thanks to the success of global chemical company Ineos, which has enjoyed exponential growth since he founded it in 1998, and will assume delegated responsibility for the club’s football operations. He will also invest an additional 300 million US dollars (£236.7m) into the club’s infrastructure.

Ratcliffe has been chairman throughout and has seen the company go from 400 employees to 26,000 and annual revenues of around £52.5bn.

Ineos has diversified its interests over the years to incorporate consumer brands and sports interests, which now includes the club Ratcliffe grew up supporting.

Born in Failsworth in 1952, a “quite deep-rooted” passion for United grew as he spent the first 10 years of his life in the Greater Manchester town.

Ratcliffe’s family eventually moved to Hull before he went onto to study chemical engineering at Birmingham University, then gain an MBA from London Business School.

He began his career at Exxon Chemicals before moving to Courtaulds and in 1992 led the buyout of Inspec Group plc, mortgaging his house to help complete that deal.

Six years on, he bought a plant in Antwerp, Belgium from Inspec for £84m and formed Ineos, which has gone onto become a chemical giant.

Ratcliffe – who received a knighthood in 2018 for services to business and investment – remains chairman of the company, which has developed a varied sporting portfolio over recent years.

Ineos Grenadiers are a leading professional cycling team and Sir Ben Ainslie-led Ineos Britannia is the Challenger of Record for the 37th America’s Cup.

The company is principal partner to the Mercedes Formula One team, performance partner to New Zealand’s rugby union teams and supported Eliud Kipchoge’s bid to run a sub two-hour marathon.

Ineos is now looking to take its football ownership to another level, having taken over Swiss Super League team FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017 and acquired Ligue 1 club Nice two years later.

In 2022, Ratcliffe saw a last-ditch £4.25bn bid for Chelsea – a club he grew a “split allegiance” for during his time in London – rejected.

“I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea,” the billionaire told the Daily Telegraph in 2018. “Have been for years, although I’m a Manchester United fan really. Or was… but it’s not getting any better (at United).

“It’s gone from bad to catastrophic. Talk about a glass half-empty.”

Things have improved on the field lately but there is plenty of work to do away from it, which is why so many United fans are grateful that Ratcliffe has bought a stake in the club.

He said in October 2022 that he “can’t sit around hoping that one day Manchester United will become available” after Joel and Avram Glazer indicated to him that they did not want to sell.

But the following announcement that a full or partial takeover would be considered moved the goalposts, paving the way for Ratcliffe’s investment in United.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has completed a deal to purchase a stake in Manchester United which will grant his Ineos company control of football operations at the club.

The Ineos founder, chairman and chief executive has completed his acquisition of 25 per cent of the Club’s class B shares and 25 per cent of the club’s Class A shares.

The investment from Trawlers Ltd, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe, received Premier League and Football Association approval last week and was officially confirmed on Tuesday night.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe said: “To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Ratcliffe has agreed to pay US dollars 33 (£26) per share for a quarter of the Class A shares, as well as paying that price for 25 per cent of the Class B shares held by the Glazer family. Each Class B shares confers 10 times as many votes as a Class A share.

The deal was announced on Christmas Eve and the agreement to buy a 27.7 per cent stake in the club also includes investing an additional 300 million US dollars (£237m) into the club’s infrastructure, taking the total investment to £1.25billion.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

The billionaire Ratcliffe, who was born in Failsworth in Greater Manchester in October 1952 and says he was “around 10” when he first went to a United match, has been a frequent visitor as Ineos prepares to take responsibility for footballing operations at United.

Ratcliffe also attended the annual memorial for the Munich air disaster at Old Trafford on February 6.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos’ director of sport, has also been a regular presence around the club and is expected to play a key role.

United’s statement last month confirming the shock appointment of Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as chief executive stressed that approach.

The Red Devils have also been strongly linked with Dan Ashworth, who has left his role as sporting director at Newcastle and placed on garden leave by the Tyneside club.

The completion of the deal marks the conclusion of a saga which began back in November 2022 when the Glazers announced plans for a strategic review which could include the sale of the club.

Ratcliffe, along with Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim, were the front-runners when it became apparent a full sale would be considered, but the latter withdrew last October.

Ratcliffe’s focus shifted to the purchase of a significant minority stake, which has finally been completed on Wednesday.

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth appears to be a man in demand as new Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe attempts to establish a new era at Old Trafford.

Reports claim Ratcliffe has identified Ashworth as the man he wants to oversee a reboot after his purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the club was approved by the Football Association.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at Ashworth’s credentials and career to date.

Who is Dan Ashworth?

Ashworth, 52, is a renowned football administrator who was head-hunted by Newcastle’s new Saudi-backed owners to take up the role of sporting director, which he did in June 2022 after serving a period of notice with former club Brighton. Handed responsibility for the club’s “overarching sporting strategy, football development and recruitment at all ages”, he oversaw the Magpies’ surge to a fourth-place Premier League finish and the return of Champions League football to Tyneside after an absence of two decades in his first season in the role.

What is his background?

Having been released by Norwich’s Academy as a 17-year-old full-back, Ashworth worked as a PE teacher while studying for his coaching badges – including the UEFA Pro Licence – and playing semi-professionally for St Leonards and Wisbech Town before a spell in the United States with West Florida Fury.

Where has he worked?

He was handed his first full-time role by Peterborough, where he began life as the club’s education and welfare officer and worked his way up to Academy director during Barry Fry’s reign as manager. He spent three years as director of Cambridge’s Centre of Excellence before joining forces with Aidy Boothroyd to establish West Brom’s Academy. However, it was in his role with the FA, which he took up in 2012, that his stock rose sharply. He was the man responsible for instilling an “England DNA”, an ethos encompassing the entire international set-up at St George’s Park, which has been cited as a major factor in the senior team’s progression to the latter stages of the last three major tournaments as well as success at age group level. In 2018, he joined Brighton and helped to establish the club as an emerging Premier League force.

What are his strengths?

 

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Ashworth is far more than a transfer guru. A man credited with an eye for undiscovered talent, his involvement on that front in recent years – and certainly at Newcastle – has been to get the deal done when a target has been identified and agreed upon. However, he sees himself largely as the hub of a wheel, linking the various activities of a club’s football operations strategically and ensuring all are functioning to the benefit of the whole. His breadth of experience in different aspects of the business and his personable manner allow him to interact effectively with staff from top to bottom.

How easy will it be to prise him away from St James’ Park?

Given their determination to get him in the first place – he resigned from his job Brighton in February 2022 and had to wait around four months to get to work at St James’ – Newcastle will be understandably reluctant to allow Ashworth to leave. However, they are equally aware that should United adopt a similar approach to theirs having persuaded their man his future lies elsewhere – after another suitable spell of gardening leave – they may simply be better off biting the bullet and negotiating his departure. Asked about his exit from the AMEX Stadium in October 2022, Ashworth said: “Sometimes in life an opportunity comes along where you just go, ‘Blimey, it’s just too good to turn down’.” That time may have arrived once again.

Manchester United have made an approach to Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported the 52-year-old has notified Newcastle he has been approached by the Red Devils but there has been no formal contact between the clubs.

Various media outlets have said the Old Trafford club want Ashworth to be in place this summer in time to oversee their transfer business.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposed deal to buy a 25 per cent stake in the club has been approved by both the Premier League and Football Association and is expected to be completed next week.

Ratcliffe has wasted little time in making his mark as his chemicals company Ineos takes control of United’s football operations.

Ineos sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford has been an increasing presence around the club since Ratcliffe’s deal was announced in December.

And last month United confirmed the appointment of Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as their new chief executive.

As Ineos continues to look at strengthening United’s football leadership team, with recruitment a particular area of focus, Ashworth is an ideal candidate.

He has built an impressive CV in previous roles as sporting and technical director at West Brom and Brighton and spent four years as the FA’s director of elite development.

At Brighton, Ashworth oversaw the signings of Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Marc Cucurella among others, while at Newcastle his incomings include Alexander Isak, Sven Botman and Anthony Gordon.

The Football Association has approved Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United.

Confirmation that the Premier League had given its backing to the deal was contained within an update to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday evening.

A further SEC update has now revealed that approval from the FA has also been obtained as completion edges closer.

Within an amended tender offer statement published on Wednesday afternoon came confirmation that the national governing body’s approval “has already been obtained”.

The green light from the FA is one of the last remaining steps but the deal cannot be completed until the tender offer for Class A shares is finalised.

The period in which holders of Class A shares can tender them for sale has been extended from February 14 until 23:59 on February 16.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s tender offer for 25 per cent of the Class A shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange has been extended until midnight on Friday night.

The offer, which is part of Ratcliffe’s deal to become the minority owner of Manchester United, was originally due to expire at midnight on Tuesday.

It was announced on Christmas Eve that the Ineos chairman had agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League club in a deal that included investing $300million US dollars (€331million) into their infrastructure.

As well as buying Class B shares held by the Glazer family, the announcement confirmed that Ratcliffe would offer to acquire up to 25 per cent of all Class A shares at a price of 33 US dollars (£26) per share.

Ratcliffe has conducted a series of meetings with club staff and associates in recent days.

He has met leaders of the independent Manchester United Supporters’
Trust and spoke with local leaders, including senior representatives of
Trafford Council, and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

He was also among those in attendance at the Munich Air Disaster
memorial last week.

Ratcliffe is reportedly already planning to lead an overhaul of United’s
playing squad, starting with four new players to aid Erik ten Hag’s bid to lead
a belated charge for Europe.

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