Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ratcliffe unlocks first Man Utd signing, with £40m to seal fantastic January coup

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Man Utd transfer target Jean-Clair Todibo

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the key that will unlock the first major signing of the new era at Manchester United, and £40m will reportedly be enough to sign a French defender in January.

The British billionaire is primed to buy a 25 percent share in The Red Devils. According to the Manchester Evening News, the partial takeover should be ratified before Man Utd are next in action against Everton on Sunday, November 26.

Ratcliffe is expected to assume full control of all sporting matters at the club. Among his biggest priorities is overhauling United’s lacklustre recruitment process.

Indeed, ESPN claimed on November 13 that Ratcliffe and INEOS chief Sir Dave Brailsford have taken a particularly ‘dim view’ on United’s recruitment in recent years.

Mistakes in the market have been there for all to see, with Jadon Sancho (£73m), Antony (£86m) and potentially even Mason Mount (£55m) three current stars who have failed to justify their cost.

The Sun stressed Ratcliffe is planning a squad ‘reset’ once at the helm. Sancho and Anthony Martial will be among the first to leave in January.

However, today’s update regards the centre-half position, with The Mirror claiming Ratcliffe will unlock the signing of Jean-Clair Todibo.

Man Utd have no fewer than five established centre-backs on their books already, though there’s no shortage of issues plaguing the quintet.

Lisandro Martinez is currently sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured metatarsal. 35-year-old Jonny Evans is also crocked with a thigh strain and is out of contract at season’s end anyway.

Raphael Varane has tumbled down the pecking order and hasn’t started for United since September. That’s brought Harry Maguire back into the fold, with Victor Lindelof holding down the fort too.

However, Lindelof is out of contract in the summer (United hold an option for a 12-month extension). Elsewhere, Man Utd tried to sell Maguire to West Ham in the off-season.

Clearly, so much uncertainty in such a vital position is not healthy for Erik ten Hag and co. As such, Fabrizio Romano confirmed Man Utd aim to sign a top class centre-half in 2024.

The trusted transfer guru told Caught Offside in October: “As I’ve previously reported here, we know Man Utd want a top centre-back for 2024, so we’re going to see a lot of names linked.”

Per the latest from The Mirror, the man they’ll turn to is Todibo of Nice.

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Ratcliffe the key to Todibo coup; Prem vote won’t torpedo deal

United explored signing the 23-year-old in the summer, though could not act on their interest after failing to shift Maguire.

But The Mirror now state Ten Hag will prioritise landing a centre-back in January and Ratcliffe’s influence could swing a deal for Todibo his way.

Ratcliffe owns Nice by way of the INEOS group and it’s that connection that is set to serve United well.

One important point to make regards the Premier League clubs being set to vote on banning loan moves between ‘associated clubs’.

If pushed through, it would prevent Newcastle from loaning Ruben Neves from the PIF-backed Al-Hilal, for example.

However, Man Utd would be signing Todibo outright and not via the loan route, thus making a January deal viable.

£40m will reportedly be enough to sign Todibo who has been nothing short of sensational this season.

His Nice side remain unbeaten in Ligue 1 and boast a scarcely-believable defensive record. Indeed, in 12 Ligue 1 matches Nice have conceded just four goals. Todibo has started 11 of those matches.

Todibo’s former club Barcelona will reportedly be due 20 percent of the fee via a sell-on clause.

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