Ratcliffe favourite opens door to Man United move as INEOS target free transfer to partner Mainoo

Will Ford
Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to buy 27.7 per cent of the club in February.

Luton Town midfielder Ross Barkley says he “wants to play in Europe again” having been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Barkley has been in brilliant form for Luton this season having joined on a free transfer in August, playing an integral role in their bid to remain in the Premier League.

Sir Jim and Sir Dave huge admirers

A report in February claimed United chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe had identified Barkley as a potential signing to bolster United’s midfield.

It was claimed that both Ratcliffe and INEOS director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford are both huge admirers of Barkley from their time together at Ligue 1 side Nice, and it’s thought he could be a replacement for Casemiro, who’s set to leave at the end of the season.

Barkley spent last season at Nice before joining Luton after four up and down seasons with Chelsea.

The 30-year-old may well be in the best form of his career having failed to live up to what were very high expectations for most of it having received rave reviews for his performances when he first broke into the Everton first team in 2013.

“I want to play in Europe again…”

Barkley is free to leave Luton at the end of the season having only signed a one year contract and admits his goal is to play in Europe again.

“I want to play in the Premier League,” Barkley told Sky Sports.

“I want to play in Europe again but I’m not really focused on that now.

“I want to help the club stay in the league. I love the club. It’s helped me so much and I owe them a lot. So I’m focused on that and thinking about nothing other than helping them do that.”

Barkley is set to face Manchester City this Saturday as Luton travel to the Etihad Stadium and the midfielder believes he is a match for the best in the Premier League.

“I believe I can compete with the top players at Man City and Arsenal,” said Barkley.

“I feel like I’m confident enough to know what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are.

“I feel like I can exploit certain things but when we play Man City, they will have most of the possession so it’s about what you do out of possession. We need to be in the right positions and stick together going forward. Hopefully, I can make some things happen.”

READ MORE: Highest paid footballers in the world: Ronaldo 1st, Messi 5th as Saudi Arabia dominate