As Sir Jim Ratcliffe is ready to assume sporting leadership at Manchester United, a picture is starting to emerge from the INEOS camp.
And for others, the next few months at Old Trafford will be uncomfortable.
It is thought that Ratcliffe and his advisor Sir Dave Brailsford, who achieved great success in the cycling world, are seeking specifics on the terms of various contracts and transfers in order to try to figure out why and how a significant amount of money has been squandered on players in the past several years.
Brailsford, who is rumoured to be initiating an audit on the football operations, is rumoured to be looking at deals for striker Odion Ighalo, Fred, Donny van de Beek, Casemiro, Antony, and Jadon Sancho.
How they look
They also want to know the reasons for the contract extensions offered to Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, and Phil Jones.
It is believed that before United can proceed with a fresh transfer plan, its past errors must be recognised and comprehended.
With former Juventus and PSG business guru Jean-Claude Blanc poised to take over as chief executive and successor Richard Arnold, Ratcliffe is targeting Old Trafford’s recruitment operation as part of his reform of United’s structure and procedures.
John Murtough, the director of football, is expected to step down before the upcoming season following ten years of chaotic transfer transactions, bad purchases, and few notable successes.
There may be a risk to Darren Fletcher’s job.
Furthermore, unless Ratcliffe’s intentions are made 100% clear, respected former United player Darren Fletcher could also be let go; some people think the 39-year-old’s reputation may be tarnished by his relationship with Murtough.
Fletcher, a former Scottish international who won five Premier League titles while playing for United, is now the team’s technical director and is in charge of setting up the Academy star loan system.
If Ratcliffe assumes total charge of United’s football operations, as is thought, that aspect of the company will be examined, although for the time being it is not high on his list of priorities.
Ratcliffe may be encouraged to make drastic changes, possibly endangering the career of the well-liked Fletcher, according to several critics who feel that United’s recruitment department lags behind that of other teams.
There have been a number of names floated as possible contenders, including former AC Milan great Paulo Maldini, Dougie Freedman of Crystal Palace, Andrea Berta of Atletico Madrid, Lee Congerton of Atalanta, and former director of football Paul Mitchell of Southampton and Tottenham.
After years of poor transfer market performance and questionable contract choices, United faces significant long-term consequences with this appointment.
And it’s one he MUST get right to save his reputation, considering Ratcliffe’s frustration with prior errors in the transfer market.
During the international break, Erik ten Hag’s mind will undoubtedly be racing with a few conundrums.
Mason Mount is ranked rather high on that ranking.
It’s safe to assume that United hasn’t seen the best of the former Stamford Bridge star, who was once an England regular, after acquiring the midfielder from Chelsea in the summer for a cool £55 million.
Many supporters are also worried that Mount, 24, is becoming just another Donny van de Beek.
When the Dutch midfielder joined from Ajax, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager. He struggled to find the perfect position for the international player and never really managed to integrate van de Beek into the club.
Given that Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, and Casemiro are all on the team ahead of him, it is also evident that Ten Hag has not yet figured out where to play Mount.
One further illustration of why United’s transfer policy seems to be faulty so often.
See Also: Five Eleven Hag Transfer Targets That Manchester United Did Not Sign
The pursuit of Castello Lukeba will irritate Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Castello Lukeba of RB Leipzig is being linked to United; nevertheless, this is a move that will enrage new sports director Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The 20-year-old centre defender, who was quickly promoted to the Lyon first squad at the age of 18, has been under United’s notice for the past two years.
Following his 4-1 victory over Scotland in his French international debut last month, Lukeba has quickly gained the interest of some of Europe’s elite teams.
When he signed with Leipzig last summer for an estimated £22 million, United did not bid for his services.
It looks that United is now considering a move for the young player, who may fetch up to £38 million.
This is the kind of situation Ratcliffe wants to prevent, as United is better at identifying potential early on rather than when players start moving for large salaries. It’s comparable to Erling Haaland’s development.