Manchester United have recruited Omar Berrada from City as he leaves cycling’s Team Ineos.
The shape of Manchester United’s regime under the co-ownership arrangement between Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the Glazer family became more apparent with news that Omar Berrada, the chief football operations officer at City Football Group, has been poached from United’s crosstown rivals.
Berrada is set to take over as the new CEO following the departure of Richard Arnold in 2023. This transition comes after Ratcliffe acquired a 25% stake and gained control of sporting decisions. Berrada previously held a position at Barcelona and joined City Football Group in 2011, where City is the main club among the 12 owned by the Abu Dhabi-funded collective. He has held the role of chief operating officer since 2016.
He will take on the role of executive leader for both the football and business aspects of the club, serving on the club’s board of directors and reporting to Ratcliffe and the Glazers. His hiring is believed to be a collaborative choice between Ineos’ owner and the American owners. He is expected to officially begin his position in the summer.
The City released a statement expressing their understanding of the player’s desire for a new challenge and wished him well. Meanwhile, United stated their determination to prioritize football and on-field performance in all their actions, with the hiring of Omar being the initial step in this direction.
The latest development involves Sir Dave Brailsford, the genius behind Team Sky and now Ineos-Grenadiers, stepping down from his cycling role to dedicate his attention to his new position at United. As the primary sports advisor to Ratcliffe, Brailsford’s main responsibility is to conduct an evaluation of the club which Ratcliffe acquired for £1.25bn, and to oversee all aspects of their athletic operations.
In 2010, Brailsford established Team Sky and in 2012, they achieved their first victory in the Tour de France. From 2012 to 2019, they dominated the competition, with Bradley Wiggins winning seven out of eight editions and Chris Froome winning four. After a rebrand in 2019, the team continued to excel under the names Sky and Ineos, earning five more Grand Tour titles.
Brailsford, who was born in Derbyshire but raised in Wales, has served as the team principal for the entire period.
Prior to Ratcliffe’s attempt to acquire a share in United, Brailsford had been collaborating with Nice, who currently rank second in Ligue 1 of France. Ineos also possesses ownership of the Swiss club Lausanne, as well as Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing team and has a share in the Mercedes F1 team.
After Ratcliffe’s agreement with the Glazer family was officially announced on Christmas Eve, Brailsford has been frequently seen in the Old Trafford directors’ box. He was also present alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and Ratcliffe during last Sunday’s 2-2 match against Tottenham.
In a short press statement, Ratcliffe expressed his anticipation for the completion of his agreement with United by “early Feb” and stated: “I have accomplished some thrilling things, but this is the ultimate. There is no doubt about that.”
Brailsford, an often controversial figure during his time on the frontline of road cycling and notorious for his belief in “marginal gains”, has been detailed with overhauling the distressed asset Ratcliffe has bought into. United’s latest quarterly figures, released this week, showed the Glazers’s debt has increased to £773m and that an additional £364m is owed in unpaid transfer fee instalments.
During Brailsford’s examination, Ratcliffe is believed to be willing to wait for United’s manager, Erik ten Hag. However, the delay in his approval after 13 months of talks with the Glazers means that there will probably not be any investments made during the January transfer period.