Tottenham Hotspur have now thrown a curveball to Manchester United’s January transfer plans, as they have opened talks with OGC Nice over the signing of Jean-Clair Todibo. United are planning on signing a defender in January, and Todibo has been a player on the club’s list for some time. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s pending minority takeover is set to be finalized this week, but that has not stopped Nice from agreeing to engage in talks with Spurs over the signing of the French defender. It leaves a lot of Manchester United fans wondering whether Todibo is the main target, or whether there’s someone else more sought after for the right centre-back role.
Tobido & Spurs:
Tottenham have not got the greatest strength in depth at the club, and that much was made clear after their recent injury troubles. Cristian Romero and Mickey Van De Ven were unavailable for several games, leaving Ange Postecoglou with the decision to play Emerson Royal and Ben Davies at center-back. It was not an ideal situation for the Australian coach, and it affected their positive start to the season as the club entered into a period of bad form.
Postecoglou is keen to strengthen this area in the January window, and Todibo is someone Spurs have been linked with for some time. He would represent good business for the London club, but the question for him is whether he would start. At Manchester United due to the current situation, it’s likely Todibo would be the starting defender at the club. At Spurs, however, Cristian Romeo is a largely important figure in the starting eleven, and it would be difficult for the French defender to change that. It may be a thought in his mind when making his decision if Spurs advance in their attempts to sign him.
The INEOS Issue:
Fabrizio Romano alluded to the fact that OGC Nice will be a difficult club to negotiate within the race for Todibo. That is thanks in no small part to Sir Jim Ratcliffe closing in on a 25% minority stake in Manchester United. Todibo is a target for United, and if the club truly wants him it’s hard to imagine him going anywhere else but the Theatre of Dreams.
One vital fact however is that INEOS are a sponsor of Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs announced a partnership with INEOS Grenadier last December and that could play a role in Todibo going to Tottenham instead of Manchester United in January.
INEOS will be aware of Todibo’s true quality. They will be wary of selling him to a direct rival of Manchester United in the Premier League, and that may come into effect during the talks between the club and the owners of Nice. Todibio is highly regarded around Europe, as well as internally at both clubs. But for Manchester United, he’s not the only player on the list for the right center-back spot.
Do United Need Todibo?
Manchester United are looking at several defenders at right center-back ahead of the January window. Three names are on the list Antonio Silva, Jarrad Branthwaite, and Ousmane Diomande. All three players can play in an Erik ten Hag system and are all very close together in regards to age, which may point towards the recruitment policy in regards to what type of center-back the club is after in January.
When put together on a graph provided to us by DataMB, Todibo is by far the most effective progressive passer out of the other three players. This is something Erik ten Hag values, but Jarrad Branthwaite’s team and how much of the ball they have per game has to come into account when comparing the players. Branthwaite attempts more defensive actions per 90 and also has the best duel success rate out of the list of players. Diomande is nearly as impressive on the ball when compared to Todibo, with an 84.1% success rate from his passing and 68.5 progressive passes across the entire season so far.
When ranked against defenders in the top seven leagues in regards to progressive passes per 90 and successful defensive actions, it’s quite clear to see Jean-Clair Todibio is the most impressive out of the three players. And by quite a distance.
Judging by the stats, it does look like Manchester United are missing out if they do not go for Jean-Clair Todibo. The French defender’s attributes seem to fit Erik ten Hag’s system the most, and his stats are largely impressive when compared to Branthwaite, Diomande, and Antonio Silva.
Brantwaithe may be the choice INEOS go with due to the reports suggesting they are looking to sign English players at the beginning of their project at Manchester United. Branthwaite is also Premier League-proven, which is something United has neglected in recent years when signing players. Everton may also be looking to offload players in the coming months due to the FFP situation, and Branthwaite and Amadou Onana are two players the club could make some big money on. United also have an interest in Onana, so United could have to consider which player they want more as signing both will be difficult.
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