Manchester United blocked from potential first signing of the summer due to INEOS ownership

Ratcliffe has already labelled the ruling as 'unfair'.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 20th June 2024

Manchester United looked to have been blocked by UEFA from making what would have been the first signing of the summer due to their co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the INEOS Group ties to his current club.

The Red Devils had lined up Ligue 1 defender Jean-Clair Todibo to fill the boots of the recently departed Raphaël Varane as one of their targets of the summer transfer window, but it looks as though INEOS‘ existing ventures have thrown a spanner in the works.

As reported by ever-reliable transfer source Fabrizio Romano on Wednesday, UEFA has apparently blocked the move for the player due to Ratcliffe and INEOS also owning OGC Nice, as the governing body is continuing to crack down on rules around multi-club ownership.

The transfer talk has now been ultimately backed up by The Telegraph‘s James Ducker, who confirmed that the association have now blocked the move for Todibo not simply down to Ratcliffe and co.’s controlling stake in the but because United and Nice have also qualified for the same competition.

While the two clubs have both been cleared to play in the UEFA Europa League next season despite INEOS’ vested interests in both teams – due to all parties agreeing that their share of transfer fees will be put into a ‘blind trust‘ – they are not permitted to complete deals with each other.


This essentially comes down to UEFA’s principle that no organisation or individual can exert a “decisive influence” over the running of more than one club in the same competition, something which they believe Ratcliffe could be deemed to have.

Interestingly, many have noted that Man City were able to secure a player from Girona back in February – one of their sister teams under the CFG umbrella – despite them having both qualified for the Champions League next season, though it seems his loanee status from Troyes AC led to the loophole.


Although the Manchester side is said to have eyed up Todibo as the perfect replacement for his outgoing compatriot at CB, they are by no means the only side interested in securing 24-year-old Todibo’s services this summer.

INEOS has also been informed they are free to sell him to another Premier League club, a stipulation that is said to have frustrated Ratcliffe. He also warned the division against becoming too stringent on spending rules.

The new United co-owner fears that being blocked by UEFA and the Premier League could become a regular obstacle for English teams.

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As the piece goes on to detail, the Failsworth-born billionaire responded by saying: “They’ve said we can sell him to another Premiership club but we can’t sell to Manchester United, but that’s not fair on the player and I don’t see what that achieves.”


That isn’t all of United’s defensive targets exhausted though, as they are also thought to have agreed on personal terms with Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, though the Merseysiders have so far rejected their initial £35 million bid.

Speaking to Bloomberg‘s business column, the 71-year-old said: “We want to be where Real Madrid are today, but it’ll take time… It’ll take two or three summer windows to get to a better place.”

At least when it comes to finding a new centre-half, though, he and Erik ten Hag will have to find another alternative beyond the highly sought-after Jean-Clair Todibo.

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Featured Images — Equipe de France de Football/Jean-Clair Todibo (via IG)/Bloomberg