Nice director Florent Ghisolfi is delighted to retain the services of Jean-Clair Todibo after the defender missed out on a £35 million move to Premier League giants Manchester United.

Had Harry Maguire accepted West Ham’s offer, would Jean-Clair Todibo be a Manchester United player right now?

Alongside fellow Frenchman Benjamin Pavard – who has since swapped Bayern Munich for Inter Milan – Todibo was certainly one of Erik ten Hag’s leading candidates to take Maguire’s place; Nice Matin reporting that the former Barcelona starlet had held talks with the Old Trafford boss, his head turned by United’s interest.

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Manchester United miss out on Jean-Clair Todibo

Of course, Maguire’s reluctance to part ways, and United’s more pressing need for a left-back and a central midfielder, meant that Todibo found himself slipping down the pecking order once the deadline approached.

And United’s loss, Ghisolfi points out, is most certainly Nice’s gain; a club under the stewardship of would-be Old Trafford owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe retaining one of Europe’s best young ball-playing defenders.

“It was the priority to manage to keep them,” Ghisolfi says of Todibo and the Liverpool-linked playmaker Khephren Thuram (Nice Matin). “And in the end, it’s our best bit of business.

“We are in the presence of players who love the club. Who see themselves taking another step forward with the club.

“There was lots of communication between all parties, and I want to also thank the owner, who afforded us this possibility (to keep them).”

A case of ‘see you later’ rather than ‘goodbye’

Ten Hag may, of course, come calling for Todibo again in the New Year. Raphael Varane is facing yet another spell on the sidelines, while Jonny Evans is the shortest of short-term fixes.

And unless Maguire embarks on the greatest career revival since Michael Keaton in Birdman, offers for the much-maligned England international will be welcomed once again in 2024.

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