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Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Manchester United have now agreed terms with the top off-field target.

Manchester United is gearing up for a major shakeup as Jim Ratcliffe prepares to take the helm of the club’s sports department for the first time this season. The anticipation surrounding Ratcliffe’s arrival is palpable, with Omar Berrada, who currently serves at neighboring Premier League rival Manchester City, already confirmed as the new chief executive officer under Ratcliffe’s leadership. Furthermore, the league has given its official blessing for Ratcliffe to acquire a quarter of the team from the Glazer family.


Among the impending changes at Manchester United is the quest to secure a sporting director, with Dan Ashworth, formerly associated with Brighton, emerging as the leading candidate for the role. Despite no direct communication between United and Ashworth, the club appears confident in their ability to secure his services, without exploring alternative options. Ashworth’s expressed intent to join Old Trafford adds to this confidence, and negotiations are reportedly progressing.


Reports suggest that Ashworth has reached an agreement in principle with Manchester United and has communicated his intention to leave Newcastle, where he is currently employed. However, United may need to offer a substantial compensation package to convince Ashworth to depart Eddie Howe’s team. Additionally, it is anticipated that Ashworth will undergo a period of gardening leave before assuming his new role, further delaying his official start date.


Despite the impending changes, uncertainties linger, particularly regarding the future of current manager Erik ten Hag, whose tenure has been marred by a decline in performance. The transition to Ratcliffe’s leadership may face delays as the new hierarchy takes shape and decisions are made regarding existing personnel.


While Ratcliffe works to establish his vision for Manchester United, the timeline for implementation remains uncertain. Berrada’s six-month gardening leave and potential delays in Ashworth’s arrival could push significant developments to the 2024–2025 season, potentially making it Ratcliffe’s first full transfer window in charge.


In the short term, attention will be focused on the finalization of key appointments and the operationalization of Ratcliffe’s new regime. Despite the anticipation surrounding Ratcliffe’s leadership, the process of assembling a cohesive team and implementing strategic changes may take time, underscoring the complexity of overhauling a football club of Manchester United’s stature.

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