Manchester United are likely to now have the advantage in any battle to sign Khephren Thuram and other players based at Ligue 1 side Nice, according to Jonathan Johnson.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his Daily Briefing column, Johnson explained that the fact that there is now the INEOS link between Nice and Man Utd could hurt Arsenal as they apparently show an interest in signing Thuram in the summer.
The Gunners could do with someone like Thuram as a long-term replacement for the ageing and injury-prone Thomas Partey, but it seems they would likely run into trouble if the Red Devils decided they also wanted the player, and if he was also tempted by the offer on the table from him at Old Trafford.
None of this is guaranteed, of course, but Johnson expects that players like Thuram and Jean-Clair Todibo would likely be United’s to turn down before clubs like Arsenal get the chance to sign them in the future.
Discussing the recent Thuram to Arsenal links, Johnson said: “Arsenal are the latest club to be linked with Khephren Thuram as he continues to shine at Nice. He’s obviously someone who’s been of interest to a number of top European sides for some time, most notably Liverpool.
“One thing that complicates a potential move to the Premier League now, however, is the link between Nice’s ownership INEOS and Manchester United under Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has purchased a minority stake there which is expected to grow in the coming years.
“So, now I think if there’s any interest in top talent at Nice, like Thuram, or like Jean-Clair Todibo, you’d probably expect them to go to Manchester United before you’d expect them to go to the likes of an Arsenal or a Liverpool.
“I can certainly see why Arsenal are taking an interest in Thuram’s situation, and they’re not alone in doing that, but I think given Nice’s performances this season, they are still going well in Ligue 1 and will fancy their chances of making it into the Champions League.
“Should Nice then qualify for the Champions League that complicates things a little bit more in terms of the asking price, but also potentially with the experience Thuram can get in the competition to help continue his development in France.
“There’s definitely interest in him, with PSG another name who’ve looked at him in the past, so he’s one to watch but the ownership link now probably puts Man United in the strongest position, assuming that they do qualify for Europe and can offer him a better overall wage package than he’s enjoying at Nice.”