Jean-Clair Todibo


Manchester United players have been told to expect plenty of change under INEOS leadership by OGC Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo, who has personal experience of the firm’s impact.

The sporting arm of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company bought the French club in 2019, with Todibo recruited from Barcelona a couple of years later and playing a central role as Nice attempt to consistently compete with Ligue 1’s biggest teams.

It hasn’t been a smooth road just yet, alternating between fifth and ninth-place finishes, but the Cote d’Azur side will be back in the Europa League in 2024/25 following their latest fifth place.

While United players might currently be used to the Glazer family taking a backseat in the running of the club, Todibo knows Ratcliffe and right-hand man Sir Dave Brailsford, director of sport for INEOS since 2021, prefer to involve themselves more directly.

“They changed a lot of things. They give us a comfort so there is a mood around the team to allow the team to succeed,” Todibo told the Daily Mail. “They put a lot of importance on being around the players, to give them the opportunity to have the best performance they can. Sir Jim, he speaks and jokes with the players. And then there’s Dave.”

Brailsford rose to prominence in cycling and is credited with masterminding Great Britain’s dominance of the sport over the past 15 years. He was also appointed team principal of the revolutionary Team Sky in 2010, which was eventually bought by Ratcliffe nine years later to become the INEOS Grenadiers. Overall, the team has enjoyed seven Tour de France wins since 2012.

Jean-Clair TodiboJean-Clair Todibo

Jean-Clair Todibo has seen up close how INEOS run a football club / Neal Simpson/Allstar/GettyImages

“For Dave, every detail is important. He talks a lot about that, all he thinks about is performance. His experience in cycling means he knows a lot about sporting performance. People say you can’t transfer cycling to football but it’s the same thing,” Todibo explained.

“If you have 11 players just thinking about their performance and how everything around them can improve their performance it’s the same. If you have 11 players performing to 100 per cent of their capacity it’s going to give you a better chance to win trophies. Before you start to think about the football, players should think about what they need to do to perform.”

In Todibo’s opinion, INEOS are “responsible for our mindset” at Nice, which is arguably something United have lacked over the past decade – something Wayne Rooney has touched on.

Despite it initially being expected that Ratcliffe would lead sporting operations, his influence already appears to go much further, recently ruffling feathers of non-football staff by making the blanket decision that all employees must be permanently based at an office site. An ultimatum to fall in line has even been issued, with staff offered the chance to resign and walk away if they refuse.



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