SIR JIM RATCLIFFE made his first major power play at Manchester United by axing the club’s chief executive Richard Arnold.
Ineos supremo Ratcliffe is set to take control of 25 per cent of the Red Devils for £1.3 billion from loathed US owners the Glazers.
And his first move was to get rid of Arnold, who has spent 16 years at Old Trafford and took over from Ed Woodward as CEO last year.
Former Juventus chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc, Ineos’ Sport CEO, has emerged as one of the favourites to take the role.
He works closely with the Ineos director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford, the British cycling mastermind who is believed to have regularly visited United’s Carrington HQ ahead of Ratcliffe’s imminent deal, which will see the Brit billionaire take on sporting operations.
Arnold, 52, said: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve this club for the past 16 years. Through highs and lows, the constant has been the dedication of our employees and fans.”
United board member and chief legal counsel Patrick Stewart is temporary CEO, with Arnold set to leave next month.
Arnold was praised by co-chairman Joel Glazer, who said: “I’d like to thank Richard for his outstanding service over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Crystal Palace sporting director Dougie Freedman is in the frame for a similar role at United when Ratcliffe takes over sporting control at Old Trafford.
He has helped Palace sign the likes of Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Cheick Doucoure. – The Sun