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FootballManchester United: Ratcliffe eyes 'the next Mbappe, the next Bellingham or the...

Manchester United: Ratcliffe eyes ‘the next Mbappe, the next Bellingham or the next Roy Keane’

Jim Ratcliffe, the new minority owner of Manchester United, says he would rather unearth young talents than pay market price for established stars.

Ineos chairman Ratcliffe will oversee football operations at Old Trafford after acquiring a 27.7 per cent stake and he explained he would rather get the right structures in place that would allow the club to find burgeoning talent than simply sign players at the top of the game.

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Asked if he would like to sign England star Jude Bellingham, he told Geraint Thomas’ Cycling Club podcast: “He is a great footballer. It’s not where our focus is, the solution isn’t spending a lot of money on a couple of great players.

“They have done that, if you look at the last 10 years, they have spent a lot of money on a couple of great players.

“The first thing we need to do is get the right people in the right boxes who are managing and organising the club.

“And make sure we get recruitment right, it is such a vital part of football today.”

Asked later if he would rather sign Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to join Real Madrid this summer, for United or leading cyclist Tadej Pogacar for his Ineos team, he added: “I would rather sign the next Mbappe rather than spend a fortune buying success.

“It’s not that clever buying Mbappe. Anyone could figure that one out. More challenging is to find the next Mbappe or next Bellingham or next Roy Keane.”

Ratcliffe was also asked about Old Trafford, explaining the temptation to build a new ground on the existing site rather than redevelop Old Trafford.

He said: “It needs to have a stadium that’s befitting the club and the brand. That might have been the case 20 years ago but it isn’t today.

“We could refurbish the ground and we’d make a really nice job of it. It’d be a fantastic stadium. It’d cost about £1billion to do that and the club can shoulder the burden of that. But you have got this opportunity if you choose to, to build a completely new ground because we have enough space.

“If you build a new ground, it would be state of the art, world class, 90,000, perhaps even 100,000 and that provides a platform for some of the big competitions in the north of England.

“Football is just as important in the north as it is in the south, arguably even more so. And the people in the north pay the taxes.

“Why do we have Wembley in the south? Why do we have Twickenham in the south? Why do we have Wimbledon in the south? Why do we have the Olympic Village in the south? Why do we have the O2 concert arena in the south?

“What have we got in the north? What’s all this levelling up stuff? The northern powerhouse, they are great words but what’s actually been done?”


Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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