Manchester United: Jean-Claude Blanc favourite for chief executive role

Jean-Claude Blanc in the crowd at the Ligue 1 match between Nice and Paris St-Germain
Jean-Claude Blanc has been chief executive of Ineos Sport since 2022

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is likely to appoint former Juventus and Paris St-Germain executive Jean-Claude Blanc as Richard Arnold's replacement once he completes the deal to buy a minority stake at Manchester United.

Current chief executive Arnold is set to leave after 16 years at the club.

Ratcliffe's Ineos Group will pay around £1.25bn to buy 25% of United, a deal set to be confirmed early next week.

Blanc, 60, has previously been called "the Lionel Messi" of sports business.

The Frenchman joined Ineos group in 2022 as chief executive of Ineos Sport to oversee all of the company's sports portfolio having spent 11 years at PSG.

Ratcliffe is expected to be allowed to run the sporting side of United and, while staff members are yet to be told exactly how that will work, it is hoped a new owner will bring an improved strategy, particularly around Erik ten Hag's first-team squad.

Blanc's strengths are regarded as the business side of the club and Ineos performance director Sir Dave Brailsford is expected to take up a significant role on the sporting side, although it is not thought likely he will be United's football director.

Crystal Palace's Dougie Freedman is also reportedly a possible candidate for that position.

Blanc is a Havard graduate and previously worked for the French Tennis Federation as chief executive before moving into football.

He helped turn Juventus around after the Italian giants were relegated to Serie B in 2006 following the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

His time at PSG, having joined the French club in 2011, coincided with 28 trophies at Parc des Princes including eight French Ligue 1 titles.