Ratcliffe has already hinted at first Man Utd exit as agreement close

Ten Hag details meeting with Ratcliffe amid Man Utd bid

Reports on Sunday claimed Sir Jim Ratcliffe was close to agreeing a Manchester United takeover with the Glazers. And, should the Ineos chief take the power position at Old Trafford, then Fred could be in line for an exit. That is, if past comments made by the INEOS chief are anything to go by…

Manchester United signed Fred back in the summer transfer window of 2018, paying £52million to secure the midfielder’s signature.

But he’s often blown hot and cold during his time at Old Trafford and, at the current moment in time, is behind the likes of Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Marcel Sabitzer and Bruno Fernandes in Erik ten Hag’s pecking order.

There’s been talk of United attempting to tie Fred down to a new deal, with his current contract in 2024.

He had previously been due to become a free agent but, back in December, Ten Hag confirmed a clause in his deal had been triggered to extend his stay by a further year.

However, while United may very well try and keep Fred, Ratcliffe taking over could potentially throw a spanner into the works.

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Speaking in 2019, the INEOS chief decided to let rip over the Brazil international – insisting he’d been signed for ‘dumb money’.

“They haven’t got the manager selection right, haven’t bought well,” Ratcliffe told the Times.

“They have been the dumb money, which you see with players like Fred.

“United have spent an immense amount since Ferguson left and been poor, to put it mildly.

“Shockingly poor, to be honest. We have a different approach here [at Nice] to be moderately intelligent about it. Try to do it more grassroots, trying to locate young talent.

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“Some clubs seem to have an ability to do that, Southampton, Lille.

“United have done it really poorly. They have lost the plot.”

Regardless of what happens with Fred, United do plan on signing a new midfielder at the end of the campaign.

Jude Bellingham is on their radar, despite Liverpool and Real Madrid appearing to be leading the race for the Borussia Dortmund star.

Ryan Gravenberch has been linked, having worked with Ten Hag at Ajax in the past.

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And United have also been credited with an interest in James Maddison, with Leicester ready to let the England international leave at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Fred has struggled for regular game time in recent months.

And former United star Gary Neville recently claimed he had ‘insight’ into the player’s absence as the FA Cup clash with Manchester City next month creeps closer.

“I just think if we set up in such a way… I’m hoping that we go into the game with Bruno Fernandes on the right and that we stiffen up the midfield with Scott McTominay [holding] and Casemiro and Christian Eriksen or Marcel Sabitzer,” he said.

And we go a bit more sort of thoughtful in the game.

“Doing what Arsenal did with the three in midfield that were attacking [was the wrong move]. We need to be a bit more [defensive].

“Erik ten Hag doesn’t like doing this, he likes to dominate the ball, he likes to control the ball.

“He’s left Fred out for the last few months because he wants Eriksen.

“I’ve got a little bit of an insight into why Fred’s not playing, Sabitzer is playing because he can hold [the ball].”

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