Premier League English

Ratcliffe bent on Gareth Southgate being his No.1 choice to replace Dutchman

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford have apparently canvassed the invaluable opinions of Manchester United legends and are purportedly ready to sack Erik ten Hag and bring in the England manager this summer.

The INEOS owner is ready to replace Dutchman Erik ten Hag with England manager Southgate as the latter is said to have received the backing and approval of Manchester United club legends.

Ratcliffe has been stepping up his crusade to rock the United boat after minority equity deal of the club was officially signed off last month, beginning with the hiring of Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as chief executive and is now also hot on the heels of Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth.

Ratcliffe has settled on Southgate as the right man to lead United on the pitch, reports the Daily Star, as the 71-year-old billionaire and INEOS’ head of sport Sir Dave Brailsford have received numerous glowing endorsements from the United legends they have spoken to and are ready to make a bold move this summer.

Southgate is currently focused on England’s campaign at Euro 2024 in Germany this summer. Despite his contract expiring in December, he has opted not to commit to a new deal, and not for the FA’s lack of trying.

Highly respected by the United players in the England squad, the 53-year-old also enjoys a close relationship with Ashworth, as the Newcastle supremo was previously the FA’s director of elite development from 2012 to 2019 and had worked closely with Southgate.

Ratcliffe is apparently confident he can convince Southgate to swop the England job for United’s after the concluding of Euros on July 14, although the Euro want Southgate to sign a new contract that would keep him in place until after the 2026 World Cup, but but the former Middlesbrough manager has held off making a commitment until after Euro 2024.

It would cost United around £800,000 to Southgate out of his £2.5million-a-year England contract five months early, not to mention invoking another £10m in compensation to sack Ten Hag and his staff a year before their deals expire in June 2025.

Southgate has won 57 of his 91 matches in charge of England, leading them to the final of Euro 2020, but has not been involved in club management since being sacked by Middlesbrough in October 2009.

Asked about his contractual situation last week ahead of England’s friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, he said: “We’ve consciously shelved any discussions internally about what might be next because I think if we had sat and signed a new contract and done that before the tournament, everybody would have said, ‘Well, you did this with [Fabio] Capello and you should be proving yourself before you sign’. So, look, I’m completely relaxed about that and I have no idea where we’ll be in the middle of July, other than I hope it’s Trafalgar Square and let’s get the party on.”

Although it seems Ten Hag may have eased the immediate pressure on himself with the incredible 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday, Ratcliffe – self-admittedly a lifelong United fan – remains unconvinced he’s the right person to take the team forward.

The British billionaire has been widely acknowledged to be a ruthless decision-maker in sport and wants only the best qualified top new management personnel to oversee the new era under INEOS.