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Michael Edwards has already embarrassed Sir Jim Ratcliffe as Man Utd in chaos

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Avram Glazer (L) owner of Manchester United during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Coventry City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 21, 2024 in London, England.
-Credit: (Image: Crystal Pix/MB Media/Getty Images)


Manchester United remains effectively rudderless, despite the recent change in minority ownership. But if Sir Jim Ratcliffe had got his way, Michael Edwards might have been the one steering the ship.

The transfer guru is back in the Fenway Sports Group fold, returning as CEO of Football after a previous spell as sporting director at Liverpool. The Reds' owners pulled off a major coup in tempting Edwards back, after he had already reportedly rejected advances from Manchester United and Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe has sort of got his next preference in the shape of Dan Ashworth, but the director remains in limbo as his gardening leave stretches on, with Manchester United and Newcastle United unable to agree a fee. This uncertainty comes at the worst possible time, with the club being pitched into chaos over the last few weeks.

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One of Edwards' first tasks at FSG was to address the need for a new head coach at Liverpool, with Klopp having confirmed his departure. While the Reds took their time over the process, things moved quickly once Arne Slot had been identified, and an announcement was neatly in place for the end of the campaign.

It wasn't all plain sailing, with Edwards having to contend with Xabi Alonso deciding to stay at Bayer Leverkusen. But only those within Liverpool know with any certainty whether he would even have been approached in favor of Slot, with the process having been conducted 'behind the curtain'.

That's quite a contrast to the circus over which Ratcliffe is presiding at Old Trafford. He's told anyone who will listen about the incredible standards he plans to bring to Manchester United, but so far that's amounted to complaining that the offices are untidy and baselessly banning work-from-home arrangements.

Arne Slot was quickly identified, approached and hired by Liverpool - a far cry from the mess at Old Trafford
Arne Slot was quickly identified, approached and hired by Liverpool - a far cry from the mess at Old Trafford -Credit:GETTY

Meanwhile, the 'review' over Erik ten Hag's future has been embarrassingly public, and publicly embarrassing. Manchester United is clearly minded to make a change, but talks with Thomas Tuchel went nowhere, and nothing appears to have come from discussions with Thomas Frank or Mauricio Pochettino either.

Then there's Gareth Southgate, who is now firmly distracted by Euro 2024, and will not countenance any discussions until the tournament ends. Having hit brick walls with a bizarrely disparate array of candidates, Ratcliffe and Manchester United could yet even end up keeping Ten Hag, presuming he's happy to tolerate this demeaning limbo for much longer.

It's an utter humiliation for Manchester United, at a time when it was hoping to show off how it is finally moving into the modern era. The job Edwards did in hiring Slot has already put Ratcliffe to shame, further underlining Liverpool's shrewdness in bringing him back.