Man United woes not solved by ‘buying an Mbappé’ – Ratcliffe

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he doesn’t think the solution to the club’s problems “is to buy an Mbappé,” but rather to build a balanced squad.

Earlier this month, Real Madrid announced the long-anticipated signing of Kylian Mbappé on a free transfer, ending their years-long wait for him to join the club.

Sources told ESPN that Mbappé has signed a five-year deal worth €15 million ($16.2m) a year after taxes and will also receive a €150m signing on fee, spread over his deal.

“I don’t think the solution is to buy an Mbappé,” Ratcliffe told The Times CEO Summit on Thursday. “We are more grassroots than that. One player is not going to solve the problem at Manchester United.

“The first thing we need to do is build a balanced squad and ultimately maybe top it off with one or two players like Mbappé. It will take two or three summer windows to get to a better place.”

Sources told ESPN that United have decided Erik ten Hag will stay on as manager after a season in which the club recorded its lowest-ever Premier League finish but won the FA Cup.

The British billionaire, who owns 29% of the club, blamed inefficient transfer spending for United’s woes and praised Real Madrid for their spending in the past decade.

“If you compare, since the day that Sir Alex Ferguson and [former United chief executive] David Gill retired 11 seasons ago, Manchester United with Real Madrid, they have consistently performed well and performed where Manchester United should be performing today,” Ratcliffe said.

“The net spend on players at Manchester United is £1.1 billion ($1.4bn) and at Real Madrid, rather surprisingly, it’s £200m ($253m),” he said.

Ratcliffe pointed to six Real Madrid players with a value of at least €100m ($107m): Vinícius Júnior, Jude Bellingham, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga.

“If you look at the squads of Real Madrid and United, Real Madrid have seven players that are valued at over €100 million if you look at Transfermarkt. United do not have any players over €70 million or €80 million,” he said.

Thursday’s comments echo those made by Ratcliffe earlier this year as he stated his commitment to player development.

On Thursday, Ratcliffe also lamented UEFA rules on multi-club ownership, which he said have prevented Man United from signing a player from Ligue 1 side Nice.

“They have said we can sell him to another Premier League club but we can’t sell him to Manchester United and that’s not fair on the player and I don’t see what that achieves,” Ratcliffe told The Times.