Man Utd add extra €5m to help seal first Ratcliffe signing who could force £121m pair out

Arlo Gibbons

Man Utd add extra €5m to help seal first Ratcliffe signing who could force £121m pair out

Steve Pearson

20 Nov 2023 5:30 PM

Manchester United are ready to raise the stakes to ensure they secure a French centre-half as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s first signing in January, per a report.

Signing a new centre-back is understood to be Man Utd’s main priority when the winter window opens its doors. Fabrizio Romano confirmed a top class centre-back is wanted in 2024, though The Mirror subsequently claimed the arrival will come in January and cannot wait until the summer.

United’s centre-half corps has been decimated through injury this term. Lisandro Martinez is sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured metatarsal.

Elsewhere, Jonny Evans has picked up a thigh strain, while the declining Raphael Varane has not started for United since September.

That’s brought Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof back into the fold. However, Man Utd attempted to sell Maguire to West Ham in the summer and Lindelof is in the final year of his contract (United have an option for an extra 12 months).

With so much uncertainty pervading the position, it’s easy to see why Ten Hag seeks fresh blood.

According to The Mirror, the player Ratcliffe and United will turn to is Nice and France centre-half, Jean-Clair Todibo.

The Mirror stated Ratcliffe’s influence – as the owner of Nice – will help to swing a deal United’s way.

The issues potentially affecting Newcastle’s quest to loan Ruben Neves from PIF-backed Al-Hilal won’t apply to Man Utd given they’d be buying Todibo outright rather than securing a loan.

The report claimed £40m would be enough to spring Todibo’s signing in January. However, whether United are willing – or even financially capable – or paying that price is as yet unclear.

Man Utd raise stakes by €5m

Now, according to a fresh update from Spain (as cited by Goal), Man Utd are determined to not let the deal slip through their fingers.

As such, it’s claimed United will up their ideal bid of €35m to €40m. That roughly equates to £35m and whether that’s the magic number that makes the move go through remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, it is indication of Man Utd being prepared to go above and beyond to snatch Todibo.

The Frenchman is also a target of Newcastle who have centre-back issues of their own. Dan Burn is sidelined with a back issue, while Sven Botman may require surgery to correct a knee injury.

The Spanish report also confirmed prior claims Barcelona will be in line to receive 20 percent of Todibo’s sale price via a sell-on clause.

Varane, Maguire in danger if Todibo signs

The piece concluded by namechecking two costly Man Utd signings in Varane (£41m) and Maguire (£80m) whose exits could be accelerated if Todibo signs.

TEAMtalk revealed on November 3 that Varane has become a key target for the Saudi Pro League. What’s more, enquiries to Varane’s camp have already been made.

A lucrative sale to Saudi Arabia in January would free up vital funds for United to cover the entire cost of landing Todibo.

Maguire, meanwhile, appears far more likely to be retained until season’s end at least. The much-derided Englishman has become an automatic selection for Ten Hag of late and is very much ahead of Varane in the pecking order.

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