Sir Jim Ratcliffe's £130m marquee Man Utd transfer clear amid Kylian Mbappe decision

Man Utd look set for major change in the summer and Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be judged on his signings.
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Supporters may turn their nose up at the prospect of Manchester United signing cast-offs from other clubs but when those cast-offs came sixth in the 2023 Ballon d'Or, concessions can be made.

The idea of offloading the world's sixth best player may also seem strange, until you realise it's for No.3 in those rankings. That is what Real Madrid are thought to be planning with Vinicius Jr. as they look to finally lure Kylian Mbappe to the Bernabeu.

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Madrid have been linked with Mbappe for years and only because money is no object for Paris Saint-Germain do they not already have him. The Ligue 1 side have remained steadfast in keeping their star but may now have shot themselves in the foot.

Mbappe is out of contract at PSG in the summer and so could do the unthinkable and leave for free. The world's third-best player leaving for nothing in a world where squad players cost tens of millions of pounds.

Madrid's only issue with signing the Frenchman would be what to do with their own talisman. Both Mbappe and Vinicius operate from the left and neither seem like the kind of man happy to play second fiddle, even at the home of the Galacticos.

Such is Madrid's desire to have Mbappe that Spanish outlet Sport suggests president Florentino Perez is willing to sell Vinicius. The Brazilian has been outstanding for several years but could bring in around £130million.

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Reports earlier this month have named United as a potential destination for the 23-year-old and few signings would make as big a statement for new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The INEOS chief will only hold a minority stake but have complete control of footballing operations, including transfers.

Ratcliffe hopes to improve every aspect of a club neglected for a decade but he will ultimately be judged by what happens on the pitch. His first assessment as the man to turn United around will come in the summer and bringing Vinicius through the door would bump that grade up significantly.

Doing so would provide United with a similar problem to Madrid, with Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho already occupying the two squad places on the right. Financially, it would also present a problem for a club: Blowing £130m on one player is hard to justify when there are plans for a complete overhaul.

Champions League football is looking highly unlikely next season and would likely be a deal-breaker. Not only would it starve the club of much-needed funds, but it would also be a hard sell trying to convince Vinicius to come and play Europa League or even Europa Conference League.

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United are eyeing major reinforcements across the board, not least in central defence and midfield where there are concerns over the longevity of current players. A No.9 is also needed, with Anthony Martial set to leave on a free once his contract expires.

Whether Ratcliffe and those below him can justify proportioning such a large chunk of the summer budget on one player remains to be seen, but chances like the one that may present itself do not come around often.