Ratcliffe Has Designs On Southgate As New United Manager

It has turned into a good week for Manchester United fans, not only did we get to enjoy a hard-fought 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side at Old Trafford last Sunday, as we entered the week Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos Group’s investment was ratified and fully completed, meaning he now takes full charge of the football operations side of the business, and can accelerate his designs for change to put us on a better footing and back on a proper upward curve.

Ratcliffe’s round of interviews this week did cover quite a few topics, not least his designs for a longer term ‘new’ Old Trafford Stadium, but he certainly did not hide that spending was not a main focus. He seems tired of corner betting tips that seek a quick fix and United have done that previously without success, so he is focused on the structure of the club and recruiting for the future.

On the subject of infrastructure, despite the possibility of lifting the FA Cup still being on our agenda for the 2023/24 campaign, manager Erik ten Hag’s future still remains very much in doubt. Speculation on that front remains rife, and as we head towards the weekend once more, England manager Gareth Southgate has reappeared on the rumour mill, with it claimed that Sir Jim is very keen to add him to our ranks, and is growing increasingly confident of being able to do just that come the summer.

Should this rumour prove to be true, it will undoubtedly split the fan base somewhat as there are very mixed opinions when it comes to the job that the former professional centre half has actually done, not least his selection decisions and the favouritism some players have been shown irrespective of their actual form.

Southgate’s contract with the Football Association expires in December of this year, and it appears that they seem pretty desperate on securing him to a new extended deal, but so far no deal has been agreed upon and the head coach has actually refused to enter into discussions on his future until after the 2024 European Championships out in Germany.

From United’s point of view, if Ratcliffe is determined to appoint the 53 year old, we would be looking at around £800,000 in compensation, but we would require a decision sooner rather than later as we would not be looking for a mid season appointment, we would want him in place pretty much as soon as 2023/24 comes to a close.

A bigger problem would be Ten Hag’s current contract, as it is reported that if we dispensed with his services, it would likely cost around the £10 million mark to pay off the remainder of his contract.

Whilst there will be those fans who have their doubts, Ratcliffe and Ineos director of sport, Sir Dave Brailsford, have been consulting former club greats for their thoughts on the next managerial choice, and apparently, Southgate was the overwhelming choice. He would undoubtedly have further support from incoming director of football Dan Ashworth following the relationship they struck up when they were both with the FA, as well as some of the players currently on our books.

Southgate is also one of the favoured bookies’ choices for the job, but the main question is whether or not Southgate would want another shot at the World Cup in 2026 before returning to club management.

We can certainly expect a good few more rumours over the coming months, as talk of a managerial change simply is not going away. For now, we simply look towards the end of the campaign and hopefully complete the league campaign on a high and with a successful trip to Wembley again.

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