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Manchester United target waxes lyrical about Sir Jim Ratcliffe, hints at future transfer

Man Utd target waxes lyrical about Ratcliffe, hints at future transfer
© Reuters
One of Manchester United's summer transfer targets talks up the influence that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have already had on his career.

Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo has refused to rule out a future move to Manchester United and has talked up the influence that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have at his current club.

Ratcliffe's £1.3bn purchase of a 27.7% stake in Man United was ratified in February and the British billionaire - chairman of INEOS - now has full control of football operations at Old Trafford.

The 71-year-old and INEOS also owns Ligue 1 club Nice outright after completing an £88.7m takeover in 2019.

Todibo joined Nice from Barcelona on an initial loan deal in February 2021 before making his move permanent the following summer, and he has since established himself as a star player for the French outfit.

The 24-year-old has made 136 appearances in all competitions for Nice and has been a standout performer in the 2023-24 campaign, starting 30 Ligue 1 games and helping Les Aiglons keep 15 clean sheets.

Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo pictured training on August 5, 2023© Reuters

Man Utd-linked Todibo talks up Ratcliffe influence

Todibo has understandably caught the eye of a number of top European clubs, with Man United believed to be one of those and known to be in the market for a new central defender.

Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan have also been credited with an interest, while a potential return to Barcelona has also been mooted.

Todibo still has three years remaining on his contract at Nice and is enjoying life at the French club, who finished fifth in Ligue 1 to secure Europa League football for next season.

Amid speculation of Ratcliffe wanting to sign the defender for Man United, Todibo has discussed the influence the INEOS chief, along with Sir Dave Brailsford - who is also working at Old Trafford - have had during his time at Nice.

"They bring a winning mentality," Todibo said in an interview with the Daily Mail. "They give us a comfort so there is a mood around the team to allow the team to succeed.

"They put a lot of importance on being around the players, to give them the opportunity to have the best performance they can. Sir Jim - he speaks and jokes with the players. And then there's Dave [Brailsford].

Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo in action on February 4, 2024© Reuters

Todibo eyeing future Premier League move

"For Dave, every detail is important. He talks a lot about that, all he thinks about is performance. His experience in cycling means he knows a lot about sporting performance. People say you can't transfer cycling to football but it's the same thing.

"If you have 11 players just thinking about their performance and how everything around them can improve their performance it's the same. If you have 11 players performing to 100% of their capacity it's going to give you a better chance to win trophies.

"Before you start to think about the football, players should think about what they need to do to perform. INEOS are responsible for our mindset. But also, as players, we take responsibility because we are competitors and want to win."

Todibo, who has trials at Man United as a 15-year-old before joining Toulouse, has jovially responded to rumours of a summer move to Old Trafford, but he has refused to rule out a future switch to the Premier League.

"I'm going to keep that for me! Nice try," said the defender. "It's nice to hear all the compliments. I'm trying to stay focused on my game and my teammates - but for sure I am open to playing in the Premier League."

Todibo was hoping that his impressive club form would earn him a call-up to the France set-up ahead of Euro 2024, but he has not been selected in Didier Deschamps's provisional squad.

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