Jean Clair Todibo: How UEFA Rule Prevents Manchester United from Signing Nice Defender

Jean Clair Todibo: How UEFA Rule Prevents Manchester United from Signing Nice Defender

Martin Moses
updated at June 20, 2024 at 6:52 AM
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  • Manchester United will reportedly not be able to sign top-priority defensive target, Jean-Clair Todibo, from OGC Nice
  • The French defender was considered one of the options to shore up the club's defensive concerns next season
  • However, a UEFA rule applied in the past is believed to be the reason why the transfer won't go through this season

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Manchester United have reportedly suffered a blow in their attempts to bolster their ranks ahead of next season, with UEFA putting a stop to Jean-Clair Todibo's potential signing.

The Red Devils have been involved in talks with French club, Nice, to work out a deal for the defender. Raphael Varane's departure at the end of the season has left Erik ten Hag bereft of options.

Jean-Clair Todibo, Nice, Manchester United, UEFA rules, Europa League
Jean-Clair Todibo in action for Nice against Paris Saint-German on March 13, 2024. Photo by Jean Catuffe.
Source: Getty Images

Fabrizio Romano reported on Wednesday evening that the deal was now off despite 'talks having been advanced for months'.

The reason for the deal stalling was that Man United and Nice were owned by the same person and were in the same UEFA competition next season.

UEFA rules on multi-club ownership

The former qualified for the Europa League after beating Manchester City to win the FA Cup, while Nice finished fifth in Ligue 1. Sir Jim Ratcliffe's minority takeover of Man United at the start of the year complicated issues due to UEFA's rules on multi-club ownership.

Sports Brief previously explained how Chelsea play the Europa League if Ratcliffe fails to convince UEFA that he has less than a 30% stake at the Old Trafford outfit. The verdict in that case is yet to be released.

Apart from the Carrington-based club losing its position in the Europa League, the other issue with UEFA's rules is the prohibition on the transfer of players between clubs owned by the same entities - this is where Todibo comes in.

Why Manchester United can't sign Todibo

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, UEFA had to deal with issues involving Aston Villa/Vitoria de Guimaraes, Brighton/Union Saint-Gilloise, and AC Milan/Toulouse. These clubs had qualified for the same competition but are/were owned by the same entities.

For the first two, their owners reduced their stakes in one of the clubs to below 30%, while Milan's majority owner, Gerry Cardinale, quit Toulouse's board membership. This allowed them to conform to the already discussed rule on multi-club ownership and thus compete in the same competition.

Additionally, and most importantly in the Todibo case, the clubs were not allowed to transfer players between them, share scouting data or enter into commercial joint ventures for the season they were playing in the UEFA club competitions, as reported by the Athletic.

So, simply put, if Manchester United and Nice are allowed in the same competition next season, Todibo cannot swap the two clubs owned by the same person.

How did Manchester City sign Savio?

Questions have been asked online about how Man City will pull off the expected £25.7mil signing of Savio. The Brazilian was part of Girona's team, which finished third in La Liga and thus qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Girona is owned by the City Football Group, which also owns the Citizens.

However, Savio had been on loan to Girona from French club, Troyes, which coincidentally is also owned by CFG. Given that Troyes won't be in Europe next season, the deal is widely expected to receive a green light.

Manchester United pursue Branthwaite

Ten Hag's side will now have to look at other defensive options, including an England star snubbed for Euro.

Sports Brief also previously reported that Manchester United and Jarrad Branthwaite had agreed on terms.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)