Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes insists the squad are only focused on what is happening on the pitch rather than off it amid Sir Jim Ratcliffe‘s acquisition of 25 per cent of the club. Fernandes was heavily criticised by Ratcliffe in his latest book but the Portuguese star appears to accept the INEOS deal.
Ratcliffe’s £1.2billion bid for a minority stake in United was accepted on Christmas Eve. The British billionaire will now seize control of the footballing operations at the club with his company as they bid to bring the 13-time Premier League champions back to their glory days.
One of Ratcliffe and Co’s main priorities is to overhaul the Red Devils’ failing transfer strategy. For too long, United have been letting first-team players go for free whom they could otherwise make a buck off.
Currently, United are at risk of losing seven soon-to-be out-of-contract stars including Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Anthony Martial. The trio can all sign pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs in January for free transfers over the summer once their deals expire.
Fernandes still has three years left on his deal at Old Trafford but Ratcliffe’s comments in his book ‘Grit, Rigour & Humour – The INEOS Story’ shortly after United’s crushing 7-0 defeat to Liverpool last season don’t bode well for the 29-year-old.
In the opening page of the book, Ratcliffe recalls a trip to the Cook Islands where he witnessed a rugby player being ‘carted off in the back of a pick-up with a broken leg’. Commending his bravery, the INEOS chief wrote that his behaviour was “a far cry from Bruno Fernandes clutching his untouched face in the Liverpool debacle recently.”
Whether Fernandes is aware of the comment is unclear but the club captain doesn’t seem particularly concerned by Ratcliffe’s arrival. When asked what the squad have made of the INEOS deal, Fernandes replied: “Not much, honestly. Because it’s not going to change anything we do on the pitch.
“Apart from if they come in and bring some new players that can make a difference for us, OK, apart from that it has to be us on the pitch and make that difference that we need.
“Obviously, social media, newspapers, we see everything, it’s impossible these days not to see it. We know what the club is going through at the minute, but it’s not going to change anything that we do on the pitch. We focus on ourselves and the team and what we can control, which is yourself and our performance.”