Man Utd are making huge changes ahead of Sir Jim Ratcliffe coming into the club | Football Digest
Manchester United are reportedly set to turn to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s other club, Ligue 1 side Nice, as chiefs attempt to reinforce Erik ten Hag’s defence in the January transfer window. The INEOS CEO is on the verge of purchasing a 25 per cent stake in the club for approximately £1.3billion and he will oversee the sporting side of the Red Devils.
The upcoming window is where Ratcliffe can signal his intentions to the fanbase and the Mirror claim that the January priority is to sign a new centre-back. Last season’s first-choice pairing Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have been absent due to injury and tactical reasons, with the likes of Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof instead featuring.
Ratcliffe’s arrival could help land long-term target Jean-Clair Todibo who has been impressing for Nice. He was previously linked with a transfer in the summer but as Maguire’s proposed move to West Ham failed to materialise, no new defender was brought in while finances were kept tight.
Nice value the former Barcelona defender at £40million with the club currently second in Ligue 1 table. He has also been scouted by Newcastle but United could have the edge thanks to Ratcliffe and his relationship with the French club.
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Though Eddie Howe’s side will be curious if Nice do sell Todibo to United, with Ratcliffe set to be involved in both teams, as Newcastle have been criticised for their interest in Al-Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves as both clubs are owned by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
United have looked at other options, with Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite considered but the youngster’s recent new contract may have ended any hopes of a January move.
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Ten Hag’s side have also looked at Portuguese duo Antonio Silva and Goncalo Inacio of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon respectively, but they both have hefty release clauses and are unlikely to be realistic targets in January.
Martinez is expected to be ruled out until the New Year through a recurrence of his ankle injury, while Varane’s future remains up in the air having fallen down the pecking order under Ten Hag.
Maguire and Evans have formed a strong partnership in recent weeks but the latter has joined Martinez on the treatment table and it remains to be seen whether they can be relied upon for an entire season, perhaps prompting United and Ratcliffe to look to sign Todibo from Nice.
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