Copy of 759127-01-02-1710857470580
Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder #08 Bruno Fernandes (L) and Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag (R) celebrate on the pitch after extra-time in the English FA Cup Quarter Final football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on March 17, 2024. Manchester United won the game 4-3 after extra-time. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / Image Credit: AFP

London: Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe has revealed he will not target marquee stars like Jude Bellingham as he bids to revive his club’s fortunes.

Ratcliffe has taken control of football operations at United following his recent #1 billion ($1.2 billion) purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League side.

With United struggling in Erik ten Hag’s second season as manager, British billionaire Ratcliffe had been expected to make big-money signings in the close-season.

United have not won the Premier League since 2013 and currently sit in sixth place, although they are through to the FA Cup semi-finals after beating Liverpool on Sunday.

Appearing as a guest on Geraint Thomas’ Cycling Club podcast, the 71-year-old was asked whether he would try to sign England midfielder Bellingham from Real Madrid.

“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,” Ratcliffe said.

“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.”

France's forward Kylian Mbappe arrives in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines on March 18. Image Credit: AFP

‘Not clever buying Mbappe’

Later in the podcast, Ratcliffe was given a choice of signing France forward Kylian Mbappe for United or cyclist Tadej Pogacar for his INEOS team.

“I would rather sign the next Mbappe rather than spend a fortune buying success,” he said.

Mbappe has reportedly agreed to join Real Madrid from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

But even if he was available, the superstar doesn’t fit the bill for Ratcliffe.

“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,” he said.

As he conducts wide-ranging review of United’s football operation, Ratcliffe is working with his long-term assistant Dave Brailsford, with Omar Berrada eventually coming in as chief executive from Manchester City.

Long journey

Ratcliffe made it his goal to knock Manchester City and Liverpool from their position as the Premier League’s pre-eminent forces, but he acknowledged achieving that target will be a long journey.

“The two people who are most focused on it would be Dave and myself, in terms of how we resolve it all,” Ratcliffe said.

“We’ve now got Omar Berrada of course, our new CEO from Manchester City, who is still on gardening leave at the moment, he’ll be a big part of it. It’s Dave and myself really.

“You have to believe with Manchester Utd, if we get all the details right, all the right people in the right boxes, doing the right things in the right environment, that sporting elite environment that the results will drop out the bottom.

“Those things are not right at Manchester United today as we’ve said very clearly.

“It’s not a light switch, it’s a much longer road to travel because there’s so many aspects to it.”