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Sir Jim Ratcliffe slams 'unfair' UEFA ruling as Man United suffer Jean-Clair Todibo blow

Todibo to Man Utd called off: Ratcliffe slams UEFA decision amid transfer collapse
© Reuters
Sir Jim Ratcliffe slams the 'unfair' UEFA ruling that prevents Manchester United and Nice from conducting transfer business between the two clubs.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has confirmed that Manchester United have been blocked by UEFA from signing Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo this summer.

The Red Devils' need to reinforce their defence has intensified after Raphael Varane confirmed that he will be leaving the club when his contract expires on June 30.

Erik ten Hag's side have since been linked with a plethora of defenders including Nice star Todibo, who is thought to be high on the club's radar.

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

Nice are owned by Ratcliffe's company INEOS, who signed Todibo from Barcelona on an initial loan deal in February 2021 before making his move permanent the following summer.

Todibo recently waxed lyrical about Ratcliffe and the influence that he has had at Nice amid reports suggesting that Man United will look to sign the defender this summer.

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe pictured on May 25, 2024 [IMAGO]© Reuters

Ratcliffe confirms Nice cannot sell players to Man Utd

However, because of Ratcliffe's ties with both Man United and Nice, Todibo has been blocked from making the switch to Old Trafford due to rules implemented by UEFA.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ratcliffe did not specifically name Todibo, but he confirmed that Man United are not able to sign players directly from Nice.

"They've said we can sell him to another Premiership club, but we can't sell to Manchester United," said Ratcliffe. "But that's not fair on the player and I don't see what that achieves."

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe is still awaiting a decision over whether Man United and Nice can both play in next season's Europa League.

As reported by The Athletic, 'Article Five of UEFA's rulebook states that no individual or legal entity can have "control or influence" over more than one club participating in a UEFA competition.'

In order for the European football's governing body to allow this, Man United and Nice must be viewed as separate entities to maintain the integrity of UEFA competition.

Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe is pictured at Old Trafford in Manchester, Britain, March 17, 2023© Reuters

What next for Ratcliffe and Man United?

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

Extensive changes have already been made at boardroom level, with INEOS chief Sir Dave Brailsford having arrived alongside Ratcliffe, while Jason Wilcox has taken the role of technical director.

Omar Berrada has been appointed as the club's new CEO, while Dan Ashworth is widely expected to become their new sporting director once a compensation package with Newcastle United has been agreed.

With a move for Todibo now off the table, Man United will seemingly step up their pursuit of top target Jarrad Branthwaite, although their £50m summer budget could complicate negotiations with Everton for the £70m-rated defender.

Man United's are limited to what they can spend this summer as they seek to avoid breaching Financial Fair Play rules, and they may be required to sell some first-team players, including Casemiro, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood, to generate funds for new signings.

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Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite celebrates after the match on September 23, 2023
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