Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is confident Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group want to work with him and believes the incoming minority owners can help the club fulfil their lofty ambitions.
The Old Trafford giants announced on Christmas Eve that a long-awaited deal has been reached for boyhood fan Ratcliffe to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League outfit.
INEOS is taking responsibility for United’s footballing operations under the terms of a deal that is expected to take four to six weeks to receive regulatory approval.
Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS’ director of sport, was at Old Trafford on Boxing Day for the stunning 3-2 turnaround against Aston Villa, and Ten Hag says he will be speaking to the new minority owners soon.
“The schedule is so condensed so I didn’t have the time so far to speak with them, but it will come and I look forward (to it),” the United boss, who has been the subject of scrutiny and criticism this season, said.
“They want to work with me, I want to work with them. We will have the conversations, the meetings, so we will see.”
Asked if he is expecting INEOS to be a regular presence at United’s Carrington training base, Ten Hag said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest: “I’m focused on the game so far.
“So, I said, no, in this moment I don’t want to have distractions but in the coming days, weeks, there will be time for this and then I know more.
“But I think it’s a good thing, it’s very positive and, as I said, we are looking really forward to working together.
“INEOS wants to work with me, in this structure, and I want to work with them.”
The fact Ten Hag repeated his belief that Ratcliffe’s team wanted to work with him seemed to suggest he has had some kind of assurances.
“From the start of the process I was kept informed,” the Dutchman said when that theory was put to him. “First by (departing chief executive) Richard Arnold, later on by (interim chief executive) Patrick Stewart.
“So I know everything, I know every detail, how the meetings and how the talks are, how the agreements are. Now it just has to settle down, give us some time.
“I have to talk with them and not with you about this and then we will see but I’m sure, I’m very positive about the messages I have been given.”
Under the terms of the agreement, INEOS will be consulted on football matters as they await ratification for a deal that Ten Hag believes can help awaken what have become stumbling giants.
Off the field, Ratcliffe has committed £236.7million to enable future investment into Old Trafford, while INEOS Sport’s widespread experience could prove beneficial on the pitch.
As well as interests varying from cycling to sailing and Formula One to rugby, Ratcliffe owns French football club Nice – currently second in Ligue 1 – and Swiss Super League team Lausanne-Sport.
“In other clubs, they have experience,” Ten Hag said. “In other sports, they have a lot of experience, a lot about performance, so they have a lot of knowledge.
“I’m really looking forward to (seeing) how they can contribute and I’m sure they can.
“We have to pick the things. Football is a very complicated sport, especially in the top, so I’m sure they will contribute, they will help us to achieve our high ambitions.”
Ten Hag has made it clear during his reign that United have to become regular trophy contenders once again, but FA Cup glory is all they can fight for this term.
Out of Europe, the Carabao Cup and Premier League title race, the Red Devils end of a topsy-turvy 2023 at rejuvenated Forest on Saturday evening.
Anthony Martial remains unwell and unavailable on a lengthy injury list that Ten Hag says will soon ease, with Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Mason Mount due back in mid-January.
“I think we are very optimistic,” he said looking ahead to the second half of the season.
“When the players return and now the luck is a little bit on our side now in the matter of injuries, then (it will be like) we have five or six new signings in January.”