If all goes to plan and Manchester United are under Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s sporting control by 2024, big changes are expected at the club.
The INEOS chief has already reportedly made plans to strengthen the first team as a major area of attention. Executive personnel changes will also come, with accomplished executive Jean-Claude Blanc in the mix for Richard Arnold’s job.
Therefore, the focus will shift to what signing he, and United and could make in January because Erik ten Hag clearly needs more to get through the season.
The injury crisis has decimated the Red Devils so some reinforcements will definitely be coming. It’s just how many, and at what cost, will depend upon who’s in charge of making decisions when January rolls around.
Here are the top three signings United could make from INEOS’ OGC Nice if Ratcliffe is the one calling the shots-
The reality remains that once United are under Ratcliffe, they join the same boat as the likes of Manchester City, where a single owner has multiple clubs around the world. The ethics of such an arrangement are questionable, but United are in the 20th century due to Glazers not moving with the times.
Transfers from Ratcliffe-owned OGC Nice to United might become a bit more common than others and the chief among them would be Jean-Clair Todibo.
The centre-back not only fills a position of need at Old Trafford, but the interest in him pre-dates Ratcliffe’s arrival at the club.
He is an absolute passing master from the back while having the physical qualities to dominate the Premier League. Combine that with his chastening experience at FC Barcelona, and you get a player who has already seen so much at such a young age and bounced back from it.
Transfers from Nice might be a bit easier than negotiating with other clubs since Ratcliffe also has the credit in the bank now after some restructuring at the club has them 2nd in the league table.
Todibo to United almost makes too much sense to not happen. If not January, then definitely in the summer window.
It is a remarkable coincidence that two of Nice’s best players play at positions that are of the most urgent need for United.
Khephren Thuram is one of the most highly-rated midfield players in the world and has attracted the interest of major clubs like Liverpool before.
The 22-year-old is an all-action dynamo in the middle of the park and has a skillset very similar to Frenkie de Jong.
Ten Hag is still trying to find a ball-progressor from the deep to make his system work and for all his qualities, Casemiro is not it. This has forced the manager to urge players to play the ball forward quickly to bring their pacey attackers into the game.
Thuram will fill that need, and with Casemiro’s advancing age, makes perfect sense. He can develop the defensive side of his game under the tutelage of Casemiro, and Ten Hag can use his gifts in possession to unlock deep defences to give United a unique edge in some games.
Casemiro is on the wrong side of 30 and recent form suggests his future might be further forward anyway. The fit couldn’t be more perfect.
Anthony Martial is out of contract soon and his time at United looks to be winding down. While Rasmus Hojlund has been a revelation as United’s undisputed No 9, there are undoubtedly going to be troughs in the future due to his age and inexperience.
United targeted the likes of Mehdi Taremi to supplement him for the same reason before budgetary constraints left them in a hole. A single injury to Hojlund will derail United’s season.
OGC Nice’s Terem Moffi comes in that scenario.
The 24-year-old Nigerian international has now proved himself to be more than a flash in the pan by following up his 21 goals last season with a good start to this one.
Ten Hag wants United to be the “best transition team in the world” and Moffi suits that style to a tee. He is an instinctive finisher in the box and a livewire with the ball at his feet. In that way, he provides a different threat to Hojlund.
If Ten Hag is feeling up to it, he can even pair up the two up top since Hojlund’s physically imposing style complements Moffi’s tricky and pacey style perfectly.
Besides these players, some darkhorse candidates are Youcef Atal and Ndayishimiye but the three players above fit United like a glove.
Now the wait for Ratcliffe to take control begins.