Described as a “constant” and a “stabiliser” to PSG, Blanc moved to join INEOS in 2022 as chief executive of INEOS Sport. His role to date has been to oversee the company’s sporting portfolio which spans across other football clubs Lausanne-Sport and OGC Nice, Formula One with Mercedes, as well as cycling, sailing and rugby.
Blanc is expected to be turned to by Ratcliffe as CEO, and his appointment won’t be the only one.
sporting director and further roles beyond the established two can be expected to follow in due course. It has been learned that Ratcliffe and INEOS want to install a new “football department” at United, similar to the idea of what’s been installed at Chelsea – but more concentrated and less extensive.
There are a number of names being considered to become the new sporting director, with John Murtough, the club’s current football director, expected to eventually follow Arnold and leave once operations are up and running under Ratcliffe’s control.
Michael Edwards has been looked into as a potential option but 90min has learned that the former Liverpool sporting director will not occupy a role at United, with other candidates in the running instead. Lee Congerton, currently at Atalanta in Serie A, and Dougie Freedman, of Crystal Palace and an ally of Sir Alex Ferguson, have been among names considered as INEOS do their due diligence.
Milan legend Paolo Maldini has been rumoured in reports from elsewhere while INEOS like Brentford technical director Lee Dykes, who has been previously linked and is liked by some within the framework for his analytics approach. Appointments beyond a sporting director and new CEO could follow in the months following Ratcliffe’s acquisition and as the results of an inquiry into the running of the club led by Sir Dave Brailsford become clearer.
90min understands, however, that Paul Mitchell remains the favoured option for the role. The former Monaco, RB Leipzig and Tottenham director has been established as Ratcliffe’s top choice for the job for a number of months.
Mitchell has already publicly spoken about United’s situation as a club while in his role at Monaco in July 2022.
“They [Manchester United] need a top blueprint not only for now but for the next five years, and work towards that,” he told Sky Sports. “Sometimes on that journey there are hard moments when you don’t get the right results, even though you’re doing the right things.
“You have to know that, over that period, the consistency of the decision-making will yield a good end result. I think we’ve seen that both Manchester City and Liverpool, that when you adopt that long-term strategy you can get real consistency and sustainable success.
“I think that’s the biggest thing for Manchester United; putting down their identity of what they want to be today, but most crucially what they want to be in five years’ time, and where they want to be, and what they want to look like; from everything from young players, to the style of play, to the whole culture in Manchester United.”