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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Sir Jim Ratcliffe sends warning to Manchester United about summer transfer window

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he does not expect to solve all of Manchester United’s problems this summer as he warned it could take several transfer windows.

The new United co-owner also marked a break with the past by saying that buying one superstar will not prove the answer as he claimed that no one in their hugely expensive squad is worth €100m now.

Ratcliffe spoke of a goal of reaching Real Madrid’s levels but accepts it will not happen soon as he looks to transform the environment at Old Trafford.

He spared manager Erik ten Hag some of the blame for United’s worst-ever Premier League finish, after they only came eighth, by telling Bloomberg: “The coach isn’t the central issue at Manchester United.”

United decided to stick with Ten Hag after he won the FA Cup, but only following an end-of-season review in which they considered the cases of a host of other managers.

Ratcliffe’s attempts to change United have been impeded by other clubs putting their off-field hires on gardening leave, with new chief executive Omar Berrada due to start in July and the club yet to strike a deal with Newcastle for sporting director Dan Ashworth.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Erik ten Hag were civil but not exactly warm after Manchester United’s FA Cup win

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Erik ten Hag were civil but not exactly warm after Manchester United’s FA Cup win (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

It will make it harder for United to buy this summer and Ratcliffe added: “We’re sort of a bit handicapped in that sense, so I think we’ll do a fairly good job. It will take two or three summer windows to get to a better place. I’m not confident that we’ll solve all the problems in the first transfer window.”

United’s squad includes the £85m buy Antony, the £72m signing Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford, who scored 30 goals in 2022-23, but Ratcliffe admitted they don’t have any of the most valuable footballers in the game right now.

“Manchester United doesn’t have any players that are valued at €100 million or more,” he said. Under the previous regime, the club have bought a series of big names – in players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria – but Ratcliffe said that getting one superstar “isn’t going to solve the problem at Manchester United”.

Ratcliffe came out against the Premier League’s new plan for anchoring and the idea of an independent regulator for football. He also said he could understand why Manchester City are taking legal action against the Premier League’s Associated Party Transaction rules.

The billionaire also criticised Uefa for determining that United cannot buy from Nice, the French club owned by Ratcliffe, with defender Jean-Clair Todibo thought to be of interest.

“They’ve said we can sell him to another Premiership club, but we can’t sell to Manchester United,” Ratcliffe said. “But that’s not fair on the player and I don’t see what that achieves.”

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