Manchester United have conceded three or more goals nine times this season with four of those coming at Old Trafford. Not the kind of defensive impact Erik ten Hag was hoping for in his second season.
To be fair to him, injuries have severely impacted the manager’s wish to select a stable back four with last season’s outstanding duo Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez both having their issues.
The Argentine suffered a recurrence of last season’s injury and has been out for a long time while the Frenchman’s poor fitness record meant the Dutchman opted to sideline him and play the likes of Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans, and Victor Lindelof in his stead.
ETH wants a new defender
But the former France international has been linked with a return to former club Real Madrid and even though the former Ajax coach wants him to stay this season, contractual issues also need to be resolved.
Amid all this uncertainty and poor form, the Red Devils boss is desperate for help via the winter transfer window.
United have been linked with a move for Jean-Clair Todibo of OGC Nice since the summer but a move did not materialise back then due to the uncertainty surrounding the club’s former skipper’s future.
Recent reports have indicated that Tottenham Hotspur have skipped ahead of United in the race for the Frenchman and have even opened discussions with the player’s camp.
— Rudy Galetti (@RudyGaletti) December 20, 2023
Italian journalist Rudy Galetti has claimed on X (formerly Twitter) that Ten Hag has personally asked for Todibo’s signature in January.
“Ten Hag – as already reported – is currently not at risk and is planning, aligned with Man United, possible transfer moves to strengthen the squad already in January.
“In particular, the Dutch manager asked for a new CB: Jean-Clair Todibo is at the top of the list.”
Spurs vs United for Todibo
The 23-year-old has put his disappointing Barcelona spell behind him and impressed last season, helping Nice concede the second-least amount of goals in Ligue 1 last season.
Todibo, who stands at 6 foot 2, has proven to be a monster at the heart of the backline this campaign as well, helping his side keep nine clean sheets while also registering an assist, with Nice currently second in the French top flight.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is close to sealing a 25 percent stake in United, also owns the French outfit and the Reds are prepared to utilise the INEOS chairman to ensure the centre-back comes to Manchester instead of North London.
But whether United have the requisite funds to stave off Spurs remains to be seen. Outgoings will be needed first or Ten Hag could lose yet another defensive target.