Five Ligue 1 stars Ratcliffe could bring to Man Utd to kickstart new era: Tottenham striker target, Liverpool linked duo…

Ryan Baldi
Man Utd linked trio Khephren Thuram (Nice), Jonathan David (Lille) and Leny Yoro (Lille)

Man Utd linked trio Khephren Thuram (Nice), Jonathan David (Lille) and Leny Yoro (Lille)

The ink might still be drying on Sir Jim Radcliffe’s deal to purchase a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United and for his INEOS football department to assume sporting control of the 20-time champions, but the new Old Trafford part-owner is already lining up the club’s summer transfer wish list.

With French side Nice already under the INEOS umbrella, Radcliffe and co. bring with them a deep insight into the best and brightest potential targets from Ligue 1.

Here are five players from the French top flight that United should consider swooping for as they begin their rebuild this summer.

Jonathan David – Lille

The reporting around the supposed transfer wish list of United’s new powers that be claims a proven striker is high on their summer agenda.

It remains to be seen whether Rasmus Hojlund’s recent scoring run will alter that line of thinking, but if United do decide to pursue a striker this summer, Jonathan David would be a fitting candidate.

The Canadian forward, who turned 24 last month, has been prolific ever since moving to Europe with Genk in 2018.

Since then, David has never failed to score in double figures for a season, with his peak output coming just last term, when he notched an impressive 26 goals in 40 appearances for Lille.

Lille paid €30 million to acquire David from Genk in 2020. But despite his impressive scoring, the fact he has just 18 months remaining on his current contract means he could represent a cost-controlled option for United as the club looks to strengthen in several departments this summer. Aston Villa and Tottenham have also been linked with the Ligue 1 marksman.

Khephren Thuram – Nice

The 22-year-old Nice midfielder is the younger brother of Inter Milan striker Marcus Thuram and the son of former Juventus, Barcelona and France defender Lilian Thuram. And Khephren has the potential to become the latest member of his family to shine at one of Europe’s top clubs.

Likened stylistically to former Manchester City star Yaya Toure, Thuram stands 6ft 4ins and is a powerful presence in the middle of the pitch, while also being blessed with immaculate close control and the ability to dribble through pressure to launch attacking moves.

City and Liverpool have previously been reported as keen suitors for the one-cap France youngster, but the fact he currently plays for Radcliffe-owned Nice means United’s new controllers will be well aware of his talent and potential.

Said to be valued at around £35 million, Thuram could star alongside academy-bred sensation Kobbie Mainoo at the heart of the Old Trafford midfield for years to come.

Leny Yoro – Lille

United are one of several clubs credited with an interest in Lille’s Yoro, who has emerged this season as the most sought-after young defender in Europe.

The towering 6ft 6ins centre-back only turned 18 in November and has started fewer the 30 senior games thus far in his career, but United, Liverpool and Real Madrid have apparently seen enough and are ready to commit a significant sum to pry him away from Ligue 1.

Fast, aerially dominant and a skilled technician with the ball at his feet, stylistically Yoro has been liked to a mix between Raphael Varane and Virgil van Dijk.

Lille are unlikely to stand in his way should such giants of the game come knocking, but the French club want the bidding for their prized teenage asset to start at €60 million.

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Jean-Clair Todibo – Nice

A reported United target since before Radcliffe’s part-acquisition, the new Old Trafford regime could turn to one of the stars of another club under INEOS’ control to find a defensive reinforcement in France international Todibo.

Still only 24, Todibo must feel he’s already lived several careers in the game.

After breaking through as a teenager at Toulouse, Barcelona moved quickly to secure the talented centre-back in 2019. The Catalan giants were so keen on the Frenchman that, despite having agreed to sign him as a free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season, they brokered a deal with Toulouse to allow the defender to move to the Camp Nou six months ahead of schedule, during the January transfer window.

But Todibo was unable to make an impact with Barca, playing just four times in La Liga before being loaned to Schalke and then Benfica.

He initially joined Nice on loan in January 2020 and, unlike his previous temporary stops, the French club were impressed enough with his showings to trigger the purchase option in their loan agreement with Barcelona.

Ever since, Todibo has established himself as one of the most consistent and commanding centre-backs in France. At 6ft 3ins, he is powerful, fast and athletic, while also possessing finely tuned passing skills for his position.

If United rekindle their interest in Todibo this summer, they may have to battle Tottenham for the £35 million-rated defender.

Wilfried Singo – Monaco

Previously a Tottenham transfer target, Singo joined Monaco from Torino last summer in a €12 million deal and the Ivory Coast international has been a breakout performer in Ligue 1 this season for the Principality club.

Originally a full-back, the 23-year-old has excelled on the right side of a back three in his maiden campaign in France, employing his speed, strength and dogged one-on-one defensive skills to lock down opposition attackers.

With rumours linking Aaron Wan-Bissaka with a move away from Old Trafford in the near future, Singo could represent an upgrade at right-back for United, while also offering the versatility to play centrally if needed.

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