Manchester United keep tabs on Jean-Clair Todibo

Manchester United need a new centre back to replace Harry Maguire, and Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo fits the bill perfectly. Keep reading for a roundup of everything we know surrounding his potential transfer to the Red Devils.

Who is Jean-Clair Todibo?

Jean-Clair Todibo has all the attributes required to be a first-rate central defender but struggled at the start of his career. In 2019, at 20 years old, he signed for Barcelona from Toulouse and was even given the coveted No. 6 shirt. Todibo failed to make an impact and ultimately ended up on loan to three different teams – Schalke 04, Benfica and Nice – before moving permanently to the French Riviera.

The defender has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in Nice, putting in a consistent stream of quality performances over the last few years that have put him on Deschamps’ radar for the French national team and have made him a genuine transfer target for the likes of Manchester United. Only 23, Todibo has his whole career ahead of him and may ultimately be grateful for those hard years struggling for form after moving to Barcelona.

Standing at 6 ft 3 in, the Frenchman is well equipped to deal with the physicality of the Premier League and will relish going head to head with big, imposing strikers such as the infamous Erling Haaland. Nevertheless, Todibo will also need to work on his temper and aggression. These two traits can pay serious dividends in English football but will work against him if he cannot keep his emotions in check. Ten Hag will be hoping he has learnt from the events of 18 September 2022, when he was red-carded after only nine seconds against Angers.

What can Jean-Clair Todibo bring to the table?

While Manchester United almost certainly won’t drop down into the Championship, the Red Devils must ensure their defensive solidity remains if they want to compete for more silverware during the 2023-2024 season. With Harry Maguire stripped of his captaincy and expected to leave if he can attract a suitor, there is a vacancy for a new centre back.

Todibo made 30 appearances for Nice last season, in the process helping the team finish ninth. The tall, imposing defender is renowned for his physicality and aggression, especially in the air. But he is no clumsy giant – Todibo is also respected for his ability with the ball at his feet, something that Harry Maguire certainly isn’t known for.

With Manchester United continuing to evolve under Ten Hag, there is definitely scope for the Dutch manager to use Todibo as a more progressive centre back. It also helps that there are senior French defenders such as Raphaël Varane in the ranks for the younger player to learn from. He will need to remain on the ball at all costs and prove his desperation for a starting place, with the likes of Varane, Martinez and Lindelof in the squad, but Todibo’s determination throughout the early stages of his career demonstrates that the defender is up for the task.

Where does Erik ten Hag stand?

So many of the football transfer rumours these days are incredible at best, but this one does genuinely feel real. Erik ten Hag didn’t shy away from stripping Harry Maguire of his captaincy after numerous defensive lapses and errors, with the general feeling around the club being that the England captain should be moved on.

A few clubs have shown interest, including West Ham, who also put in a bid for Scott McTominay, so if Maguire were to move, the Red Devils would definitely be looking to sign a replacement. Does Todibo fit the profile? The Frenchman can certainly deliver more than Maguire did if he replicates his form for Nice last season.

All the more encouraging is his age. He’s only 23 and Ten Hag will surely relish signing a player with so much potential going forward. The manager will also know how big a part fellow Frenchman Raphaël Varane can play in educating the potential new signing, so it looks like Ten Hag will almost certainly be giving the green light to Todibo’s move.

Will Jean-Clair Todibo play for Manchester United for the 2023-2024 season?

So, the golden question – will Jean-Clair Todibo play for Manchester United during the 2023-2024 season? If reports are to be believed, he might well do. There’s not yet any certainty of a deal, but you can expect things to move along quickly if Maguire leaves.

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