Manchester United’s pursuit of signing a new defender has hit a major snag. United have been linked with a move for Nice center-back Jean-Clair Todibo for some time now. The Frenchman was recently left off of his nation’s Euro 2024 squad by manager Didier Deschamps. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old star faced stiff competition at the position from William Saliba, Ibrahima Konate, and Dayot Upamecano.

Despite the setback, United has seemingly been chasing Todibo for months now. The potential transfer appeared even more likely to eventually happen after Sir Jim Ratcliffe joined the Red Devils as a minority owner. Although the billionaire only has a 25% stake in the English side, he has significant control at the club.

Along with the investment in United, Ratcliffe also previously purchased a majority stake in Nice as well. Owning pieces of both teams made many fans and pundits believe the Todibo deal was a foregone conclusion. After all, clubs that are owned by the same investors typically swap players fairly regularly. Nevertheless, official UEFA rules have now supposedly put the deal at serious risk.

Todibo transfer tangled as Nice, United play in same competition

According to Fabrizio Romano, the governing body of the sport has essentially put the kibosh on the potential move. The transfer specialist claims that United has been in advanced discussions with Nice regarding Todibo for months. However, current UEFA rules apparently state that teams owned by the same group cannot make deals if they are competing in the same European competition.

Nice recently qualified for the Europa League after finishing fifth in Ligue 1. The Eaglets were previously in a Champions League place for much of the 2023/24 campaign. Nevertheless, they faltered quite a bit down the stretch to land in the secondary European competition. Nice only collected four wins in their final 15 French top-flight matches.

United, on the other hand, grabbed a spot in the Europa League after winning the FA Cup. Despite being major underdogs in the final against rivals Manchester City, the Red Devils triumphed in order to qualify for Europe. If they had lost the FA Cup final, they would not play in a European tournament. United fans will, however, undoubtedly rather have the trophy than possibly sign Todibo.

Red Devils already had $44 million bid rejected for Everton defender

While finishing the deal seems unlikely for now, United could very well return for Todibo as early as January. This is, of course, assuming at least one of the two teams is out of the competition by this timeframe. Nevertheless, the Red Devils could now opt to move on from the deal and target other defenders.

United recently submitted a formal offer of around $44 million for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite. The Toffees, however, immediately rejected the bid and are looking for a fee double of United’s proposal. The Red Devils remain interested in the highly-rated young English defender, but will likely not overpay to sign him.

Ratcliffe is looking to make key additions to a squad that vastly underperformed under manager Erik ten Hag last season. The club has to be mindful of Premier League spending laws currently in place though. As a result, United may have to be picky in their approach to the summer transfer market.