Man Utd set to 'miss out to Aston Villa' for target Sir Jim Ratcliffe highly rates

Aston Villa are reportedly closing in on a move for Ross Barkley after a positive campaign at Luton (Image: Getty)

Manchester United are set to miss out on Ross Barkley with the Luton midfielder reportedly ‘closing in’ on a switch back to Aston Villa. The Red Devils were said to have been interested in a move for the former Chelsea and Everton star with Sir Jim Ratcliffe seeking bargain deals this summer.

Barkley previously played for INEOS’s Nice in France and has shone for Luton this season. However, his efforts were not enough to keep the Hatters in the Premier League.

Ratcliffe is claimed to have been keen on a move for the experienced 33-cap England international. Barkley himself has insisted that he wants to remain in the top-flight and play in the Champions League.

But the Guardian reports that United will miss out on an agreement for Barkley with Villa close to completing a move. The Villans have qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 1982, granting Barkley his wish to play in Europe.

Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly set to miss out on Ross Barkley (Image: Getty)

The 30-year-old scored five times and provided four assists in 32 Premier League appearances last season. He will join a strong Villa squad hoping to be competitive domestically and in Europe.

But it is an early setback for United and Ratcliffe who were reportedly interested in completing a transfer. The INEOS chief gushed about Barkley in the book Grit, Rigour & Humour: The Ineos Story.

Unhappy that then-Nice head coach Lucian Favre was not using Barkley or fellow British player Aaron Ramsey, Ratcliffe wrote: “It’s driving me mad. I keep saying, ‘[David Brailsford] – tell him.’ And Dave says, ‘I can’t tell Favre who to pick – he’s the coach.’ So I say, ‘Well, I’m paying the wages.’ Seriously, I don’t want to interfere but there comes a point.

“There’s clearly a good reservoir of Premier League players we can tap into. Because Nice is a nice place to be, even on loan. But if you start to get a rumour in the UK that it’s fine but you don’t get picked, it’s quite difficult to scotch.

“Look at Ramsey. He’s the best footballer we’ve got. He should be playing every week because, with game time, you settle down and confidence grows.

“It’s similar with Ross Barkley. I saw him at Chelsea and he’s a really good footballer. If his mind’s in the right place and he’s in really good shape, you could play him twice a week because he’s built like a tank, really strong. You have to give a guy a chance to settle. And he gets one game every three or four. It’s ridiculous.”