Manchester United could finally confirm Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.25billion investment before Christmas, Mike Keegan has told Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off show.
But fans hoping Ratcliffe’s arrival will lead to big-name January player arrivals and large-scale improvements to Old Trafford are likely to be disappointed.
INEOS billionaire Ratcliffe is poised to take a 25 per cent stake in United and control of football operations.
There is hope the injection of cash will enable United to keep pace with rivals such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League and compete in Europe.
Erik ten Hag’s side still look short in several areas during an underwhelming season that sees them off the pace in the league and already out of the Champions League.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s buy-out of a 25 per cent stake of Manchester United is set to be confirmed
The billionaire’s arrival comes as United endure a disappointing season on the pitch
It remains to be seen what impact Ratcliffe’s arrival at United will have on Erik ten Hag’s side
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Delivering an update to It’s All Kicking Off on Monday, Keegan said: ‘The hope is still that it will be announced before Christmas, in the coming days, were the words given to me.
‘I have a decent source in the US and they believe the next few days is realistic.
‘One caveat to that is the approval process will take between six to eight weeks. United fans listening might think that’s the transfer window out of the question.
‘The transfer window, I am told – do not expect big moves from Manchester United and that has nothing to do with the takeover. That is to do with Financial Fair Play and the balance sheet.
‘I am told the bits of business you can expect are: Jadon Sancho out on loan if they can find the right move for him and Donny van de Beek, a loan move out for him.
‘It’s not like this gets announced and all of sudden there’s all these players that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s group have got lined up and in they come.’
Ratcliffe’s arrival has come with a promise of £250million for infrastructure improvement, including to Old Trafford, which has been allowed to decay in recent years.
Outcast Jadon Sancho will be allowed out on loan in January if the right opportunity emerges
Rarely-seen midfielder Donny van de Beek could also be on his way out in the window
It has been reported that £250million has been set aside for improvements to Old Trafford
However, Keegan has cautioned fans expecting enormous change that £250m won’t go that far.
‘United went away in 2022 and got the architects to come up with a load of proposals for Old Trafford – and that was for everything. Including knocking it down and starting again,’ he said.
‘They went away and did that and came back with all the different proposals at a cost of north of a billion quid for some of them.
‘£250m is not enough now, according to people I’ve spoken to, is not enough to knock down the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand given the increases in costs and what that would entail.
United’s early exit from the Champions League will have a huge knock-on effect on finances
‘So, for me, my intel from the INEOS side is their priority is sorting out what is happening on the pitch, rightly or wrongly.
‘You go to Old Trafford a lot, it needs a lot of work but I don’t think it’s going to get that work.
‘It would surprise me if they didn’t do anything but I think it would be more of a cosmetic facelift, if you can call it that. You might notice a new lick of paint here and there.
‘The corporate thing is the big thing, that’s the revenue driver. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the prawn sandwich brigade got some nice new suites.
‘I wouldn’t expect wholesale changes to Old Trafford.’
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