sport news What can Manchester United learn from Sir Jim Ratcliffe's ownership of Nice? trends now
It was clearly wishful thinking that the Manchester United takeover process could be all done and dusted by the summer.
Progress seems to have slowed to a crawl as the Glazer family mull over whether it should be Sheikh Jassim and Qatar or Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS handed the keys to Old Trafford.
It has certainly left manager Erik ten Hag in limbo as he formulates his transfer plans to build on a pretty successful first season in charge.
But just as British billionaire Ratcliffe appeared to have stolen a march by promising to keep the unpopular Glazers involved, there has been criticism of the way he runs another club he owns.
Ratcliffe, 70, has run the French club Nice since August 2019 and it's fair to say it hasn't been the smoothest of journeys.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company are in the race to buy out Manchester United
Ratcliffe is up against Qatari Sheikh Jassim, who wants a complete buy-out of the Glazers
United's current owners Avram (left) and Joel Glazer are considering sale options
And in comments that may well alarm United fans, close observer of Ligue 1 Emmanuel Petit and Nice's captain Dante have both come out and criticised the running of the club this week.
Former Arsenal and Chelsea star Petit was scathing in his assessment of the French Riviera outfit.
'Since INEOS arrived in Nice, I don't know who makes decisions,' he told Foot01.
'Where they want to go, what they want to do with Nice, especially since with MUFC behind us we don't know if they're going to pull out overnight. That's what puzzles me actually.
'A group like INEOS, which manages 17,000 people around the world and has a turnover of 80 billion, is not even capable of managing a club like Nice and having a clear and defined strategy.'
Petit went on to ask why a new permanent manager hadn't yet been appointed after Lucien Favre was fired in January and replaced by caretaker Didier Digard.
He added: 'It's the end of May and we still don't know what's going to happen at Nice. The market coming up quickly. The direction that INEOS and OGC Nice want to take, I have no idea!'
You'd expect a pundit to be critical but even more damning were the comments about transfer policy from Nice's veteran Brazilian captain Dante.
Nice captain Dante has publicly criticised the hierarchy at Nice as well as recruitment
Nice have struggled under the Brit's ownership this season and are sitting ninth in Ligue 1
'To maintain a project, maybe you need to speak less about objectives and work in silence to create an environment of competitors. Because the expectation is even bigger, and then after, people are frustrated,' he told L'Equipe.
'Do you remember how many players came in at the end of the transfer window last summer? Six left, six arrived.
'It's difficult in these conditions. Simply, we mustn't make the same errors. If someone wants my opinion, the earlier we organise ourselves, the better it will be.
'When the coach [Favre] arrived, we said in two years that we would always be in the Champions League. It doesn't work like that. Ligue 1 is very difficult.
'We lost 10 players, 10 arrived. The teams in the semi-finals of big competitions play together for three, four years. We changed everything last summer.
'There is a lack of coherence somewhere. I am sorry to say that.'
You may well join the dots and realise Ratcliffe hasn't necessarily been fully focused on Nice given the demands of the United takeover operation.
But this tardy and scattergun recruitment plus a regular chopping and changing of mangers - there have been five in less than four years of Ratcliffe ownership - certainly doesn't bode well for United.
The drawn-out takeover process at Old Trafford will have an impact on United's summer
Erik ten Hag's summer spending plans could be on hold until the takeover is completed
Nice, who are likely to finish either eighth or ninth in Ligue 1 and miss out on European football next season, are hardly a behemoth on the European or global football stage.
United very much are and if INEOS cannot get it right at Nice, there will be plenty rightly wondering what on earth lies in store if they take over at Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe pictured in the stands at the Allianz Riviera as Nice lost to Basel in the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-finals