Why Man Utd’s next CEO is called the Lionel Messi of sports business

Manchester United‘s hierarchy looks set to undergo major changes with the appointment of a new chief executive – and that could be in the form of Jean-Claude Blanc.

The Red Devils are currently in the process of selling a 25 percent stake in the club to Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The British billionaire is set to invest £1.3 billion in exchange for the minority stake in the Premier League giants that will also see him oversee the football operations side of the club.

News emerged on Wednesday that Richard Arnold will leave his role as CEO of United, with Patrick Stewart is set to take over in interim charge until a permanent replacement is appointed. The update came amid increasing rumours that Ratcliffe will make ruthless hierarchy changes at Old Trafford.

And The Telegraph has stated that Jean-Claude Blanc is in line to replace Arnold as the CEO at United. Blanc has previously held roles at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, where he departed the French club last December.

Blanc is a leading figure at Ineos Sport, the company founded by Ratcliffe which oversees the billionaire’s sporting portfolio. French club Nice is part of said portfolio, with Ratcliffe purchasing the Ligue 1 outfit back in 2019.

Nice CEO Fabrice Boquet has first-hand experience working with Blanc during his time in Ligue 1. And the chief executive has explained why United may be hiring one of the best in the business, comparing him to Inter Miami star Lionel Messi.

“He [Blanc] is a bit like the Lionel Messi of sports business,” Boquet told French news outlet L’Equipe. “It is not only a question of expertise but of interpersonal skills. He brings his vision, his network, his calm, his experience.”

Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25 percent stake in United is yet to be formally completed and is expected to be ratified by the board at Old Trafford within the coming days. But it remains to be seen how long it will take for the change to see an impact on the pitch.

United currently occupies sixth place in the Premier League table as the final international break of the calendar year gets underway. Manager Erik ten Hag guided the club to back-to-back wins in the top flight before the hiatus against Luton Town and Fulham.

When Ten Hag and Co. return to the pitch after the international break, United travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League. That will be followed by another away game against Galatasaray in the Champions League, which is a must-win if the Red Devils are to secure a place in the knockout stages of the competition.

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