Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid to take over 25% of Manchester United is expected to be approved imminently. With that, the curtains will finally come down on a long-running takeover saga that never looked like ending. As with any business, new ownership will bring in its own people to top positions and this is no different. One name that has caught fans’ attention is that of Jean-Claude Blanc.
Sir Jim is expected to appoint new people to leadership positions, namely Director of Football, and Chief Executive. Richard Arnold’s departure has already been confirmed by the club, who’ll leave after 16 years at Old Trafford. It’s the first major shake-up with more expected to follow as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival takes shape.
For Director of Football, Paul Mitchell’s name has repeatedly popped up and he will be a highly popular appointment due to the wealth of experience and successful pedigree he brings in his career.
However, Jean-Claude Blanc, the man tipped for Richard Arnold’s CEO job, is a name from the left field. Not much is known about the Frenchman and for a man who could be about to take on arguably one of world football’s most scrutinised jobs, fans are confused.
So here’s all you need to know about Jean-Claude Blanc, the potential next CEO of Manchester United-
Who is Jean-Claude Blanc?
Jean-Claude Blanc is one of football’s longest-serving and successful CEOs, having taken control of many elite sides, and organisations in his illustrious career history.
He has an MBA from Harvard Business School which speaks to his educational credentials but his work on the ground is enough to make fans excited.
Blanc played a major role in reviving Juventus into the giant it is today.
He was brought in as a board member when the Old Lady were relegated due to the infamous Calciopoli scandal.
When Juventus were reeling from such a blow, he ascended the ranks to become the club chairman in 2009.
The Miracle in Italy
He set about streamlining revenue streams, cutting costs by renegotiating player and business contracts and rebuilding the club’s technical staff that had taken a hit due to the scandal.
Within a few years, Juventus were breaking even financially and had the transfer know-how to keep being successful without spending large amounts of money.
Instead, Blanc’s forward-thinking was again apparent as he sought to invest the riches from the club’s success to set it up financially in the future. Juventus became the first club to completely own their stadium, which gave them a huge leg up on their rivals.
When Italian teams were blowing their cash on short-term signings and big names, Blanc secured Juventus their most consistent revenue stream which set them up to dominate Serie A for the next decade.
After leaving Juventus in 2011 for the owner’s son, Andrea Agnelli, he was snapped up by a PSG side that was in the starting stages of their revolution under Qatari ownership.
Jean Claude-Blanc comes home
Blanc became the General Manager of Les Parisiens and his task was to maximise the returns on the huge investment Qatar was throwing at PSG.
True to his word, regardless of their sporting success in Europe, or the lack of it, the club became a marketing monster.
Blanc and his team leveraged the lure of Paris and made the club the face of the lavish city. High-scale collabs with the likes of Jordan brand were sealed. Hollywood superstars graced PSG shirts as he astutely increased the soft power of the club, concentrating solely on the off-the-pitch matter, something which Ed Woodward didn’t do at United.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s call
Sir Jim Ratcliffe was looking for a spearhead for his increasingly ambitious sporting project in 2023. He had multiple football clubs, a cycling team, an F1 team, a Grenadiers team, and many more sponsorship areas.
Sir Dave Brailsford is the head of their sporting arm but such were Jean Claude Blanc’s credentials that INEOS decided to snap him up from PSG’s clutches.
He joined the INEOS’ sporting arm in February 2023. Conspiracy theorists can claim that Sir Jim knew about his United bid succeeding and had already started assembling a team of highly qualified and experienced people to lead the club eventually.
“We have high ambitions for all our sports teams with a particular ambition to raise our standards in football and Jean Claude will bring an entrepreneurial and innovative flair to all our teams,” Ratcliffe had said in the press release confirming Blanc’s appointment.
Now United could be set to benefit from that appointment because Jean-Claude Blanc means business.
A duo of Paul Mitchell to run football matters, while Jean Claude Blanc runs the money machine in the background should finally bring United to the 21st century.