Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s regime at Manchester United could begin with a bang as the club are already thought to be eyeing up a key summer transfer, just days after the winter window slammed shut.
United hamstrung by financial fair play
Despite the clear need for reinforcements this January, with Erik ten Hag keen on adding a striker to his ranks to provide competition for the in-form Rasmus Hojlund, United were forced to watch on as other clubs did business thanks to their position with financial fair play.
“I looked but there is no space,” Ten Hag explained in the dying days of the transfer window. “No space on FFP to do something about this lack of quantity in the striker position. Of course, [Marcus] Rashford can play as a striker and we have some other creative alternatives. It’s clear Anthony [Martial] is out for a couple of months and it’s a gap in our squad.”
They were not the only side to find themselves in this position, with just nine Premier League clubs making permanent moves in the winter window, and spending falling from a massive £815million last season to just over £100m this time around, less than was spent on deadline day alone 12 months ago.
Summer planning underway
With the January window now slammed shut, attention has turned to the summer. United are thought to be keen on adding another centre-back, central midfielder and winger as well as a striker before the new season, irrespective of who is in charge of the club, and will be bolstered by the arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who acquired a 25% stake in the club back in December.
As per Italian outlet Tutto Mercato, the Red Devils have already identified their ideal target in central midfield in the form of OGC Nice midfielder Khéphren Thuram, the son of French Icon Lilian and brother of Marcus Thuram, whom Manchester United have previously been credited with an interest in.
The Italian outlet claims that the French midfielder has a value believed to sit around 40m euros (£34m) and that he is also catching the eye of Serie A pair Juventus and Inter Milan, but that United could ‘easily surpass any Italian offers’ for the 22-year-old and Ratcliffe specifically is ‘more inclined than ever to dip into his wallet’.
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Thuram has over 150 senior appearances for Nice and is a regular starter for the side when fit. His form saw him handed his France debut in March 2023, though he has yet to add to that tally of appearances for Didier Deschamps’ side.
Out of contract in 2025, this summer represents the Ligue 1 side’s last chance to turn a profit on the Frenchman, and he is expected to leave the club. He has previously been linked with Liverpool as well as Arsenal, though both links have since cooled.
Manchester United’s current midfield options
Looking at Manchester United’s midfield options, it is clear that Thuram would provide a strong option in the Old Trafford engine room. With Scott McTominay perennially linked with a move away, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro both past their best and Kobbie Mainoo still a raw talent (albeit a very good one), an overhaul in the centre of the park is just what the Red Devils require.
Of course, the arrival of Ratcliffe could speed matters up significantly, with his company INEOS also the majority owners of the Ligue 1 side where Thuram plays his football currently. Should they opt for the Frenchman, a deal may materialise very quickly.
Thuram is not the only OGC Nice star that United have previously shown interest in, with centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo also on the club’s radar should Harry Maguire depart this summer.