Arnold&aposs decision to depart was made on his own terms, but his position was always going to come under scrutiny once Ratcliffe&aposs INEOS group got their feet under the table. They might only be taking a minority stake in the club, but it is set to come with a substantial say in its operation, particularly on the football side of the business.
In time that could also see football director John Murtough come under the spotlight, or a restructuring that appoints a sporting director above him. Sir Dave Brailsford is also likely to have some involvement.
As for Arnold&aposs replacement, for now it is legal counsel Patrick Stewart stepping up into the interim role after 17 years at the club, but the favourite is Jean-Claude Blanc, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus chief executive who joined INEOS in February.
If that appointment is confirmed, the decision to replace a marketing man with an executive steeped in football will clearly indicate a change of strategy. Arnold spent 16 years working for United and was credited with transforming the club&aposs commercial operations before replacing Ed Woodward in the top job in February 2022.
But rugby was always the first love for the University of Bristol student and he was in Paris this autumn for some Rugby World Cup games. He made positive changes from the Woodward era and deserves credit, but he failed to convince everyone.
While Woodward enjoyed taking a hands-on role in footballing decisions, Arnold empowered those around him. He focused on areas where his skillset was strongest and Murtough had a more visible, prominent role in the footballing department as a result.
Arnold and Murtough worked together on the appointment of Erik ten Hag, which looked like a masterstroke last year and still has the backing of supporters now, but he also copped a lot of criticism both internally and externally for the botched handling of the Mason Greenwood decision, initially attempting to bring the forward before making a U-turn under public pressure. Arnold then exonerated the academy graduate in his statement without any legal basis or evidence to do so.
It felt telling in the summer when it emerged that it was Arnold who would make the final decision on Greenwood, rather than co-chairman Joel Glazer, who often wants sign-off on major decisions at the club. It was a decision that had no easy outcome but would keep Glazer away from the criticisms that would inevitably follow.
Waiting for Glazer to sign off on decisions, particularly those involving a substantial financial outlay, could often slow processes at United, given it usually meant waiting until working hours on the west coast of the United States. Ratcliffe will want to streamline that and create a more agile, flexible decision-making process.
Doing that will be imperative to the success or otherwise of Arnold&aposs replacement and it&aposs fair to say there are doubts about how this is going to work, from the fans who have vehemently protested the Glazers keeping any stake in their club, to industry insiders who are sceptical as to how Ratcliffe&aposs investment will change things.
The local billionaire isn&apost ploughing 1.3bn into the club to be a passive investor, but the reality remains that he owns just 25% of the club and the Glazers have a far bigger share. Joel and Avram Glazer have long been reluctant to part with United.
Having someone like Blanc on the ground in Manchester, reporting into Ratcliffe, should streamline decision-making, but that presumes the Glazers will be happy for someone else to be making the decisions on a business that they still majority own.