Sir Jim Ratcliffe questioned Manchester United’s recent transfer policy during his visit to the club in March, with the soon-to-be new minority owner citing the acquisition of Casemiro the previous summer as an example of what he sees as recruitment doubtful.
Ratcliffe, whose offer to buy 25% of the club is expected to be voted on at a board meeting on Thursday, believes United are running a productive commercial operation but that investment in the team could be significantly improved .
Ratcliffe raised the topic during the presentation made to him on March 17 by United’s hierarchy at the Jimmy Murphy Center at the club’s Carrington training base. Richard Arnold, the general manager, and John Murtough, the director of football, were among those in attendance.
Ratcliffe suggested United’s choice of players in recent seasons had not always been the most prudent. As an example, he cited the purchase of Casemiro for 60 million euros last August from Real Madrid. The midfielder was 30 years old and on a four-year contract worth around £350,000 per week.
Casemiro enjoyed an exceptional debut season, scoring in the 2-0 Carabao Cup final triumph over Newcastle in February, but this season he has looked off pace and his form has faltered.
Nice, the club that owns Ratcliffe, signed Aaron Ramsey, Kasper Schmeichel and Ross Barkley among more than 10 signings this summer when Casemiro joined United. Schmeichel was 35 and signed a three-year contract in a £1 million move from Leicester; Ramsey, then 31, and Barkley, then 28, came in for free and got one-year contracts. The three players left Nice this summer.
Ratcliffe’s opinions on recruiting could call into question the futures of Arnold and Murtough. Arnold, United’s most powerful executive, has overall responsibility for recruitment, while Murtough takes the lead in identifying potential targets. As part of the £1.3 billion bid, Ratcliffe, the owner of Ineos, got a quarter of the United stake in whose football department he wants to control.