Manchester United are linked to Nice defender Jean Clair Todibo as a potential replacement for Harry Maguire.

Fabrizio Romano reports Manchester United have made contact with Nice over Todibo, and could push ahead to sign the defender if Harry Maguire is sold, amid interest from West Ham.

French outlet Nice-Matin report Nice wanted around £35 million for Todibo, who at 23, will have an interesting decision to make over his future.

Most players jump at the opportunity to sign for Manchester United. Todibo may do so. But there is also a risk that he hesitates and needs winning over.

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OGC Nice v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1
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Todibo had unhappy spell at Barcelona

Todibo would not be coming to Manchester United as an automatic starter. He would be competing with Victor Lindelof as a back-up behind Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.

With Luke Shaw also able to play at centre-back, there are no guarantees of game time.

Playing time is absolutely crucial to Todibo. Or at least it was, when he joined Nice, having experienced an unhappy time at Barcelona as a back-up. It is an experience he may have some hesitancy to repeat.

Todibo was quoted by the Ligue 1 website in 2021: “This contract brings me something I’ve been seeking for a while: stability. And above all the trust of a club. Here, I’ll get the playing time I haven’t had in the past, 

“I just wanted playing time. That’s what I needed. Unfortunately I didn’t get enough at certain clubs. Now, I’m at Nice and — as a footballer — I’m a happy man.”

He was even more cutting in quotes via Sport, which showed how displeased he really was with his time on Barcelona’s bench.

“It sucks to go to Barcelona and not play. I prefer to wear the [French fourth division team] Sedan shirt and play rather than go to Barcelona and not play.

“I won La Liga [in 2019], but I didn’t help the team, I played when we had won the title! I think I can do better.”

Not all rosy at Nice

Todibo is now older, at 23, and better prepared for the challenge of playing at a big club, on and off the pitch.

There is a route at United, to a more prominent role, with patience. Victor Lindelof may tire of a back-up role and request a move in 2024, while Raphael Varane will be 31 next year. Todibo could come in and be groomed as his successor.

He just has to balance this opportunity, with the knowledge he could be fourth choice when he signs, a role in which Maguire started only eight Premier League matches last season.

But life is not all rosy at Nice either. When he signed, he was full of optimism, commenting: “This is an ambitious club with a real project, and it’s not just hot air: look at the players they bought in this summer, and the fact they went and signed last year’s title-winning coach. That sends out a strong message both to the players here and to the football world.”

Last season Nice just scraped a top half finish, ending up in ninth place. In some ways, he is fortunate to be on Manchester United’s radar.

Todibo may feel he is ready to jump at the chance to move to Old Trafford, however, his past experience at Barcelona gives him reason to pause.

Erik ten Hag may need to convince him that he will have a prominent role, and not just be a spare part or expensive back-up.

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