Sir Jim Ratcliffe has three priorities to address at Man Utd before summer transfer window

Manchester United's new co-owner has plenty do to before the summer transfer window opens in June.

In reality, confirmation of Sir Jim Ratcliffe's arrival on Tuesday evening was little more than a formality. Manchester United's newest investor has been working behind the scenes for several weeks, laying the foundations for a summer of major change.

The deal for Ratcliffe to hold a minority share in United was confirmed in December and from that point onwards, he has had INEOS director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford in and around the club. The poaching of Omar Berrada, plucked from Manchester City to take over as chief executive, was a major statement, and there is growing optimism around Old Trafford.

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Ratcliffe's influence on United will ultimately be judged on the pitch and he can start to put his stamp on the playing squad come summer. But there is a little under four months before the transfer window opens and plenty to do in the meantime. Below, ManchesterWorld takes a look at three priorities for the club's new co-owner.

Hire a sporting director

United's woeful track-record in the transfer market has never been down to a lack of money, with more than £1billion has been splashed on players since Sir Alex Ferguson's 2013 retirement. The problem has always been how the money was spent, with a lack of clear strategy under multiple managers leading to a disjointed playing squad.

An elite-level sporting director fixes that issue and so finding the right one is imperative going into the summer. Earlier would be better, given it allows time for any new hire to settle in and get plans in place, but ManchesterWorld understands United are willing to wait, if it means landing their first-choice.

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That first-choice is Dan Ashworth, who earlier this week was placed on gardening leave by Newcastle United after telling them he wants to leave. The Magpies are thought to want £20million in compensation and will make it as difficult as possible for United to get their man, with an intense period of negotiation set to commence. For Ratcliffe, it is about balancing the financial hit while ensuring plenty of time for Ashworth to have any influence come summer.

Backing Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag has done a decent job at relieving the pressure on himself with a run of five straight wins in all competitions, but speculation over his future will resurface as soon as that form dips - and it will at some point. New owners have a habit of enacting change in the dugout, regardless of the current manager's success - just ask former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

Keeping Ten Hag is the right decision despite United’s regression this season, with injuries no doubt playing a major part in the Dutchman’s struggles. He has shown enough since the turn of the year to paint a picture of improvement and should be given the chance to see that play out.

Ratcliffe's arrival is hoped to bring stability and the new co-owner can cement that feeling with a public backing of Ten Hag. To come out and confirm the Dutchman's future would pour cold water on any speculation, past or future, and allow for planning beyond the final weeks of this season.

Old Trafford work

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Ratcliffe's stake in the club will rise from 25 per cent to 29 per cent before the end of the year due to a total £237m purchase in brand new shares. £158m of that money came upon completion of the deal with the final £70m in the future.

That money is to be invested into Old Trafford and while it is nowhere near enough for full redevelopment - reports have suggested it could cost more than £1billion - there is enough for work to begin before summer. It's low-hanging fruit for Ratcliffe if wants to win fans over early and an easy way to differentiate himself from the Glazer family tenure.

Longer-term and more radical plans will obviously be discussed in the future, and could even result in the development of a new stadium, but a lick of fresh paint and the improvement of facilities for supporters can further appease the match-going fan before this season is over.

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