Todd Boehly’s Chelsea tenure sends a warning to Sir Jim Ratcliffe amid the British billionaire’s Manchester United takeover aspirations.
Sheikh Jassim, who is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, is competing with Ineos owner Ratcliffe to buy United from the Glazers, who have owned the Old Trafford club since 2005.
While the Qatari has reportedly submitted a world-record £5billion bid for a 100 per cent stake in the Premier League outfit, Ratcliffe’s Ineos group have only bid for a controlling stake.
And according to a Sun report the Glazers are expected to confirm the “winning” bid within days, with Ratcliffe said to be the preferred bidder.
United insiders have allegedly indicated the Glazer family would prefer to sell majority control to Ratcliffe rather than flog the entire club to his Qatari rival.
Indeed, while Sheikh Jassim’s £5billion bid for full control was the highest sum offered, Ratcliffe’s reported deal for 50 per cent valued the full club at a price closer to the Glazers’ demanded £6billion.
Ratcliffe’s arrival at United could mean an immediate exodus of the club’s top brass, including chief executive Richard Arnold and other senior management figures.
Indeed, wholesale changes at the top are common when clubs change hands, and Ratcliffe is likely to want his own team.
The Briton was flanked by his Ineos sporting team as he visited Old Trafford and Carrington in March. Ineos Sport chair Rob Nevin and CEO Jean Claude Blanc were there to listen to presentations on “opportunities and challenges” at the club.
Meanwhile, former British Cycling chief Sir David Brailsford was also in attendance alongside Ineos co-owners Andy Currie and John Reece.
But should Ratcliffe look to replace Arnold at United it could cause disruption, given the 52-year-old’s influence.
A United source told the Athletic: “Joel (Glazer, the club’s most involved co-owner) is across United day to day, but Richard runs the club. Everyone is buying into his strategy internally. But would a new owner let someone they don’t know run it?”
And Boehly’s so-far disastrous spell as Chelsea owner may act as a warning to Ratcliffe not to change too much too soon.
When the Blues were sold last year, the club lost the expertise of executive director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck, and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech.
Boehly subsequently made himself an interim sporting director, but a £600million spend on transfers sees Chelsea languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Of course, it is uncertain whether Ratcliffe will call for a similar degree of change.
Arnold was snapped shaking hands with Ratcliffe outside the players’ entrance at Old Trafford back in March, and such a scene being broadcast publicly allegedly struck as odd to those who are familiar with the inner workings of the club.