Sir Jim Ratcliffe to copy Liverpool as Man Utd bidder snubs £1.5bn investment

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will follow Liverpool’s lead by opting to redevelop Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium instead of building a new ground. British billionaire Ratcliffe is expected to soon have his £1.4billion bid for 25 per cent of the stricken Premier League club ratified by the Red Devils hierarchy and will immediately begin an overhaul of the sporting department.

Old Trafford, one of the country’s iconic stadia, requires major renovation and has been left to crumble. The roof has been leaking for years and fans have often complained about the facilities.

Rumours that United could build a new venue in Manchester have persevered for the past decade. However, a brand-new arena would likely cost upwards of £1.5billion and could prove drastically too extortionate in the early periods of Ratcliffe’s tenure.

Instead, the petrochemicals giant reportedly has plans to look into redeveloping Old Trafford. The 71-year-old is claimed to want to spend time exploring ways to expand the stadium and improve its facilities.

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According to the Daily Mail, Ratcliffe will go down the same path as Liverpool’s owners FSG, who decided against building a costly new stadium and instead renovated Anfield. Those improvements have at times come at a cost, with the completion of the current expansion of the Anfield Road stand delayed until the New Year.

The construction group initially contracted to redevelop the stand, the Buckingham Group, went into administration in August. The new company, Raynor Rowen, are reviewing the situation every three home games to see when supporters can begin flooding into the new upper tier.

Once that work is done, Liverpool’s Anfield home will have a new capacity of 61,000. A redevelopment over the last decade has seen the stadium increase in size by around 15,000 seats.

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Ratcliffe supposedly believes that is the ideal path to follow, as opposed to building an entirely new stadium. It comes with the INEOS chief set to have his £1.4bn bid for 25 per cent of the club ratified over the coming weeks.

As part of the deal, Ratcliffe will head up the sporting arm of the club. It is claimed that he is set to oversee a major overhaul, with the likes of CEO Richard Arnold and sporting director John Murtough both in the firing line.

Sweeping changes could affect United’s players, too. The Sun reports that underperforming forwards Antony, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial could all be axed as early as the January transfer window.

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