British entrepreneur Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to invest £245 million into Manchester United’s facilities following his imminent investment into the club. The billionaire businessman is due to strike a deal to acquire a 25 percent stake in the Premier League side, and his first port of call could fix an area that Cristiano Ronaldo had been vocal about.
Ratcliffe’s proposed investment comes after Manchester United’s current owners – The Glazer family – put the club up for sale in November 2022. Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was considered among the favorites to take full control over the club, however, it has since been reported that Ratcliffe’s minority investment is the preferred option.
The deal touted is for a 25 percent stake in the club worth around £1.5 billion. And according to Sky News, the 71-year-old will also be using around £245 million to invest in the club’s training facilities. The INEOS chief will stagger the payments from his personal fortune, with the majority of the sum being invested by the end of the year.
United’s training ground in Carrington has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years and was recently lambasted by the club’s former forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The 38-year-old rejoined the Premier League team in 2021 but left just over a year later following a spate of controversial moments.
Following his departure, Ronaldo hit out at the club in a scathing interview with journalist Piers Morgan before joining Saudi Arabian team Al-Nassr. The Portuguese star claimed that the club’s facilities hadn’t changed since he first left the team back in 2009 to join Real Madrid.
“Nothing changed, surprisingly. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym,” he said via Morgan’s TalkTV show. “Even the kitchen, the chefs, whom I appreciate – lovely people. [United] stopped in time. It surprised me a lot.
“I thought I would see other things, technologies and infrastructure. Unfortunately, we see a lot of what I used to see at 21, 22 and 23 years old. It really surprised me. Since Ferguson left, I haven’t seen an evolution at the club. Progress is zero. You have to tear it down and rebuild it. If they start with me, it’s not a problem.”
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United’s training facilities aren’t the only upgrade fans can expect to see amid the potential takeover. Ratcliffe’s investment would also involve plans to increase Old Trafford’s seating capacity from 74,310 to 90,000, according to The Times. The funds would be generated through Ratcliffe’s £1.5 billion investment and come following the Glazer’s initial proposals to revamp the iconic stadium when the club was put up for sale.
Fans will hope that any new investment will see the team’s fortunes turn around. Erik ten Hag’s team is currently sitting eighth in the Premier League following a turbulent start to the season.
The opening ten games have bore witness to five wins and five defeats – including back-to-back 3-0 losses to Manchester City and Newcastle United respectively. The team will be hoping for a better performance when they face Fulham on Saturday (November 4) at Craven Cottage in the Premier League.
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