Manchester United are undergoing an overhaul behind the scenes ahead of what could be the ‘open heart surgery’ Ralf Rangnick famously recommended.
With Sir Dave Brailsford in attendance at recent Manchester United matches, Ineos made their latest move yesterday when Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Jean-Claude Blanc were seen at Old Trafford to hold important meetings, The Times reported.
Developments on the playing side will be incoming, there could be a few tweaks in the January transfer window, ahead of bigger deals in the summer.
It is through this lens Ineos are looking. Long-term, and not to panic buy. But there are plans being made.
READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfer deals for January 2024, ins, outs, loan moves
Manchester United want a centre-back
While a short-term move could be made for a striker this month, long-term, the club are looking at a centre-back.
Of the club’s five first team centre-backs, Lisandro Martinez is the youngest at 25. Then Victor Lindelof at 29, with Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane both 30, and Jonny Evans 35.
So younger, more longer-term options are being linked. And one name stands out, Jean-Clair Todibo, who was a transfer target last summer, lined up as a replacement for Harry Maguire, in case he took up West Ham’s offer.
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Several other names are being linked, with Atalanta’s 20-year-old star Giorgio Scalvini among them.
Fabrizio Romano has told The United Stand that Scalvini is a name appreciated by Manchester United, but not on the same level as Todibo.
He explains: “Yes, Scalvini is a player they appreciate and have been following, but Todibo is on a different position when it is about Manchester United’s list for present and future.
“Todibo was already on the list in the previous window, Scalvini was not on the list in the summer. Todibo remains on the list.”
Todibo top Manchester United target
Manchester United have an advantage to sign Jean-Clair Todibo because he plays for Nice, who are owned by Ineos, the new investors at Old Trafford.
Romano reports that Tottenham’s recent approach for Todibo has fallen through, adding: “Todibo is not going to Tottenham the deal almost collapsed Tottenham tried, Tottenham had conversations with Nice and on the player side. This is not going to happen.”
He goes on to say that there are ‘people at Ineos’ who believe Todibo’s future should be at Manchester United.
“For Manchester United this is an opportunity if not in January, for the summer transfer window.
“Obviously with Ineos group, this could be a good opportunity for Manchester United. There is also people at Ineos that believe Todibo could be the perfect centre-back for Manchester United’s future.”
Todibo, 24, has been in impressive form for Nice this season and has experience playing for a big club previously, at Barcelona.
Nice do have to be cautious about a mid-season sale. They rank second in Ligue 1, and selling their best player to Manchester United right now will be treated suspiciously by supporters.
Romano added that this is a deal more likely for summer than right now, for that very reason. If he is the ‘perfect’ addition, then he is worth waiting for, by which time some of United’s older centre-backs will be on the move.