Ratcliffe eager for January signings at Man United – sources

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is hoping to have his investment into Manchester United confirmed ahead of the January transfer window but there remain concerns about what finances will be available to boost the squad, sources have told ESPN.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS consortium are proposing a £1.35 billion [$1.643bn] deal to purchase a 25% share of the club and with it assume control of the sporting side of the business.

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– Dawson: Ratcliffe bid presents glimmer of hope for United

A source has told ESPN that Ratcliffe is conscious of supporter backlash because his deal will allow unpopular owners, the Glazer family, to stay on and there is a feeling that a positive January transfer window would go some way towards appeasing fans.

But there are fears that financial fair play (FFP) restrictions will make business hard to do, particularly because there are no current plans to wipe away the club’s debt. Payments on the debt — figures released in March showed United owe close to £1bn — would help increase the budget for transfers but, as things stand, there is little room for manoeuvre after committing £178 million on players ahead of the new season.

United used all of their summer budget to bring in Rasmus Højlund, Mason Mount, André Onana, Altay Bayindir, Sergio Reguilón, Sofyan Amrabat and Jonny Evans. The financial margins are so tight that Bayindir, Reguilón and Amrabat were only able to arrive after Dean Henderson‘s permanent move to Crystal Palace was confirmed.

United and Greater Manchester Police are braced for supporter protests at the next home game — against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League on Oct. 24 — following news of Ratcliffe’s proposed minority investment and the implication that it will lead to the Glazers remaining in overall control.

There are also growing concerns that high-profile home games due to be broadcast to a global audience may be targeted by disillusioned supporters. United’s Premier League fixture with Liverpool was postponed in May 2021 after an anti-Glazer protest led to a group of fans storming the pitch at Old Trafford.

The Manchester derby against neighbours and Premier League champions Manchester City — one of the biggest games of the season — is scheduled to take place at Old Trafford on Oct. 29.