Jean-Clair Todibo Scout Report: How would he fit in at Manchester United?
With Victor Lindelof’s and Harry Maguire’s futures uncertain, Erik ten Hag is keen to sign a new centre-back this summer. United have been strongly linked to Napoli centre-back Kim Min-Jae but the club also have a reported interest in OGC Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo.
Date of Birth: 30/12/1999 (23)
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.90 m (6ft 2in)
Who is Jean-Clair Todibo?Embed from Getty Images
Todibo is a 23-year-old French defender who plays for OGC Nice. Todibo joined Toulouse in 2016. His performances there attracted interest from European giants Barcelona who signed the Frenchman in January 2019. During his time at Barcelona, Todibo had loan spells at Schalke, Benfica and finally OGC Nice who ended up signing him on a permanent deal in July 2021.
Todibo has now attracted interest from the Premier League and the defender could take the next step in his career this summer. According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Liverpool all had scouts in attendance to monitor Todibo when Nice played Rennes. Romano adds that the French defender’s price tag is around €45 million.
Kim Min-Jae seems to be Manchester United’s priority signing for the centre-back position. The South Korean reportedly has a release clause of slightly less than €50m which is active for a period in July and various reports claim that United have held talks with the player. However, should United fail to secure the signature of the Napoli centre-back, Jean-Clair Todibo is a fantastic alternative option.
StrengthsEmbed from Getty Images
Todibo is an outstanding player and at only 23 years old, he still has a few years of development left. One of Todibo’s biggest strengths is his ability on the ball. He is an extremely progressive player who plays an important role in the first phase of build-up. In Ligue 1 so far this season, the former Barcelona defender has averaged 4.65 progressive passes per 90, as well as 4.01 passes into the final third per 90. Todibo is also press-resistant and is comfortable stepping out of defence to carry the ball up the pitch.
In addition to his fantastic ability on the ball, he is a fantastic tackler and has averaged 2.48 tackles per 90 in Ligue 1 this season. He is also a good 1v1 defender and is comfortable defending in wide areas. In Ligue 1 this season, the Frenchman has also averaged 3.61 clearances per 90 and 1.34 blocks per 90 which is relatively decent.
WeaknessesEmbed from Getty Images
Standing at 6’’2, it may come as a surprise that Todibo isn’t particularly strong in the air. In Ligue 1 this season, he’s only won around 55% of his aerial duels which isn’t extremely impressive for someone of his height. In comparison, Manchester United’s Raphael Varane has won 75% of his aerial duels in the Premier League this season which is significantly better than Todibo. Lisandro Martinez is a fantastic footballer who’s superb defensively and is also crucial to United’s build-up play as he’s one of Ten Hag’s best technical players. However, the one area where Martinez falls short though is aerially so whoever plays next to him in the centre of defence needs to be dominant in the air. While Todibo isn’t amazing in the air at the moment, he is 6’’2 and it’s certainly an aspect of his game that can be improved with coaching.
He also needs to work on his discipline. The OGC Nice defender has picked up 2 red cards in Ligue 1 this season as well as one in the Conference League – 3 red cards in one season is simply too many. However, Todibo is still young and will mature with more experience.
Where would he fit in at Manchester United?
Should Manchester United complete a deal to sign Jean-Clair Todibo, he’d be Raphael Varane’s successor. Varane’s contract at Manchester United expires in June 2025 so should United sign Todibo this summer, the Frenchmen would likely rotate with each other for the coming two seasons, as Varane’s game time needs to be carefully managed due to his injury problems.
Todibo would be able to learn a lot from his fellow countryman Raphael Varane and if the former Barcelona defender fulfils his potential, he could become a mainstay in United’s defence for many years to come, next to World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez.
While Todibo does need to improve aerially, both him and Martinez are very progressive on the ball and the pair would massively help United’s build-up play in deeper positions.
Jean-Clair Todibo is an extremely talented defender and he’d be an astute signing. While there are a few weaknesses to his game, they are certainly things he will be able to improve on with coaching and experience. His reported price tag is around €45 million and at only 23 years old, he’d be a very good value-for-money signing. Should the Red Devils secure his signature this summer, he could become a prominent figure in Manchester United’s defence for the next decade.