The underwhelming trio of Antony, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial all face their Manchester United career being cut short in the January transfer window.
It is stated in the newspaper that Ratcliffe is demanding explanations for the eye-watering £1.4bn that has been spent on players since Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day on his managerial career in May 2013. This has led to the Mancunian billionaire deciding to implement a “massive overhaul” of the club’s scouting department and acquisition network. It is normal that the British businessman would want to stamp his authority on the club from the get-go.
The publication goes on to claim that not only players, but higher-ups could be on Ratcliffe’s hitlist. The Sun writer, Ken Lawrence, asserts that CEO Richard Arnold, Football Director John Murtough and director of football operations David Harrison are in jeopardy of being fired and replaced once INEOS rubber stamp their 25% purchase of the club.
Ratcliffe, the life-long fan, is said to be exasperated at the vast sums wasted since the Red Devil’s last Premier League title in 2013. The article highlights the £89m on Paul Pogba, £85.5m on Antony, £75m on Lukaku and the £73m on Sancho as illustrations of such wastage. This return has only led to the meagre total of four major trophies in a decade, two league cups, one FA Cup and one Europa League.
The manager currently in the hotseat, Erik ten Hag, is said to retain the support of INEOS and Ratcliffe and he still “has credit in the bank”. However, the fact that one of the Dutchman’s marquee signings Antony is not only embroiled in legal problems but also performing at a comically low level must be a concern.
The Sun article goes on to claim that Ten Hag has spent £374m on initial fees since taking over the managerial reigns in May 2022 and as The Peoples Person has recently stated, the recruitment has been questionable at best.
Apparently Ratcliffe has already “held discussions with co-chairman Joel Glazer over United’s whole football structure” and hopes to make a flurry of changes at board and player level. This could lead to the sale of underperforming players. It is hard to fathom that £73m Sancho and £40m Donny van be Beek are currently outcasts at the club for differing reasons. The scarcely believable £85.5m outlay on Antony is also incredibly hard to stomach given his performances so far this season.
However, it is unlikely that these players will all be sold in the January window. Antony’s agent has recently rubbished reports of such a move. This claim has also been backed up by the reliable Fabrizio Romano. Moreover, despite frequent links away from the club, it is far-fetched to suggest the club will sanction any move for Martial unless their light attacking options are bolstered.
One such option is Porto striker, Mehdi Taremi. However, it is yet to be seen whether the club will move for the experienced Iranian goal-getter in the winter market.
The most likely sale is certainly that of Sancho. The Englishman is yet to apologise to the Dutch coach and since the game against Arsenal in September, has been sidelined from the senior team. The 23 year-old has even apparently removed from the first team’s Whatsapp group. Never a dull moment for Manchester United fans.
The lack of any sign of rapprochement between Sancho and Ten Hag coupled with the fact the club has been looking at right-wingers since the summer, probably suggests the England international is the most likely winter departure by a significant distance.
Whether or not any of this transpires as rapidly as January is anyone’s guess but what is clear is, none of the three mentioned players seem to have any serious long-term future at the club and the Red Devils will need to upgrade on all of them to scale the dizzying heights of the Premier League summit.