A new book on possible Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe reveals that the English investor first looked at investing in Barcelona. To acquire the English side from the Glazer family, Ratcliffe is presently competing with Sheikh Jassim. However, recent reports suggest that the Qatari group is becoming more confident that they will eventually win the race.

According to a new biography about the tycoon, Ratcliffe first attempted to acquire 50% of Barcelona and promised to invest $1 billion into the club before shifting his focus to Old Trafford.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe reveals details on discussions with Joan Laporta at Barcelona

“We had an extremely interesting conversation. We told them, ‘Don’t do it, guys – we’ll put in two or three billion, renovate the Nou Camp and have 50 percent ownership – and sign a deed to say we’d never sell. Our interest was in football alone, not making money. I think it would have worked well.

“We talked about it but, in the end, they didn’t think they could go to the fans with it. The road they are going down is a disaster. We tried to point that out and they said, ‘We know, but…’ They are all short-termers [Barcelona regimes] because the president comes in, does it for five years, and hands the mess over to someone else.

Billionaire claims Barcelona made bad choice

“They have now sold a chunk of the TV rights, and merchandising rights, for the next 25 years. They’ve sold them to American hedge funds. So they’ve got this big slug of cash, which they can now… waste.

“But if you looked at top football clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and so on – they had roughly similar budgets: say £800m for the sake of argument. Because of what Barcelona had done, theirs would be more like £500m. That’s why we told them not to do it. But they said no, and now we’ve got that out of our system, we can concentrate on Nice.”

PHOTO: IMAGO & PanoramiC