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Sir Jim Ratcliffe will commit huge investment to improve Manchester United’s infrastructure once he completes a £1.3billion deal for 25 per cent of the club, according to reports. The INEOS chief plans to fund a significant revamp of Old Trafford as part of his project, which could begin as early as this month.
According to Sky News, Ratcliffe has pledged £245m of his own fortune towards upgrading United’s infrastructure on top of the £1.3bn he is set to pay the Glazers family for a seat at the table.
It’s claimed that the £245m investment will be staggered, but the club will receive the bulk of the sum this year, which should accelerate plans to invest in Old Trafford.
The report adds that Sir Jim will provide the funding personally without adding the United’s soaring borrowings under the Glazer regime.
Negotiations between Sir Jim’s INEOS camp and the Glazers are ongoing, with a deal expected to be announced within the next fortnight.
United likely need substantially more investment than £245m to bring Old Trafford back among the country’s elite stadiums after the Glazers’ negligence has seen it left behind over the past two decades.
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But Sir Jim is said to have pledged further investment down the line, and his initial funding could be enough to expand Old Trafford’s 75,000 capacity.
In August 2022, The Times reported it would take around £200m to increase the stadium’s capacity to 90,000 and improve the club’s Carrington training ground.
And last month, the same outlet claimed that a stadium expansion had been a significant part of negotiations between Sir Jim and the Glazers.
Sir Jim and INEOS were said to be exploring how to add 15,000 seats to Old Trafford, extending its reputation as the United Kingdom’s largest club stadium.
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The Times added that INEOS’ arrival at the club would accelerate redevelopment plans that have been in the works for years.
It might leave those rooting for Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani in the takeover race disappointed, given the Qatari royal’s grand plans if he inherited 100 per cent control at United.
But Sir Jim’s pledge of £245m to improve the stadium from day one, combined with removing the Glazers’ majority say in sporting decisions, must be viewed as positive news.
Further communication on plans to expand Old Trafford will be expected, among other pressing subjects, once Sir Jim and INEOS’ deal goes through.
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