For most Premier League clubs this winter, the transfer market has been rather quiet, teams seemingly lacking the financial means to launch bids for key players or biding their time for a late flurry at the end of the month.
This is not relevant in Tottenham Hotspur’s case, with Ange Postecoglou presenting chairman Daniel Levy with a three-position shopping list before January and having already tied up deals for defender Radu Dragusin and versatile forward Timo Werner.
While chatter remains about the club’s need for a centre-midfielder, rumours persist that Postecoglou is in for another defender, with Spurs still in contact with a recent top target.
Spurs in for another defender
When Tottenham signed Dragusin from Genoa for around £27m, it looked like Postecoglou’s backline was restored, with Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero both returning from injuries too.
But Eric Dier’s sale to Bayern Munich, while necessary given his incongruity in the system, does open the door for another centre-half to complete the restructure, with Jean-Clair Todibo still on Tottenham’s radar.
Spurs pushing to sign their next Maddison in £30m magician
The Lilywhites have been credited with an interest in the exciting midfielder.
According to Téléfoot, the OGC Nice star’s entourage have held discussions with Tottenham – alongside Chelsea and Napoli – but a deal is unlikely until the summer, with his club set to demand a record fee for his departure.
This suits Postecoglou’s side who are unable to afford such a pricey outlay after this month’s expenditure, with a shrewd move for a midfielder still being considered.
How Jean-Clair Todibo would fit in at Spurs
Chelsea might boast some of the most expensive transfer kit around but Tottenham are conducting their business diligently and will be convinced that Todibo could be presented with Champions League football down at N17 next term.
Spurs are fifth in the Premier League at present but have combatted the lack of depth that derailed a fast start this month and will sign again if an opportunity arises.
Finishing eighth in a disappointing 2022/23 campaign, Tottenham are stuck on home shores this season and returning to continental competition is paramount, though clinching Champions League qualification is the surefire way to propel the club back to the forefront.
Increased match action comes tethered to such success and there is little question about the need for more than just Van de Ven and Romero to protect Guglielmo Vicario’s goal, and Todibo would be crucial in preserving and improving the squad’s fluidity.
Standing at 6 foot 3 and described as a “Rolls-Royce” of a defender by scout Antonio Mango, Todibo returned to his homeland in January 2021 after a disappointing spell with Barcelona, signing for Les Aiglons on loan with a now-activated option to buy.
Piecemeal development was accelerated this season and Todibo has been like an iron pillar in the backline, helping his second-placed side boast the best defensive record in the division, with 11 goals shipped from 18 matches.
That said, the £20k-per-week ace is also one of Europe’s most progressive and pass-effective defenders around, ranking among the top 13% of positional peers over the past year for tackles and interceptions but also among the top 5% for passes attempted, the top 7% for successful take-ons and the top 13% for progressive passes per 90, as per FBref.
In Ligue 1, he has completed 91% of his passes across 14 outings – as per Sofascore – and has averaged a whopping 7.1 ball recoveries per outing, effectively solidifying him as one of the most mobile centre-halfs in the business.
Jean-Clair Todibo: Similar Players
Virgil van Dijk
Source: Football Transfers
Declared to be “solid as a rock” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, Todibo does look like he offers the tools to sculpt a considerable career in the Premier League, and given that he plays like former teammate William Saliba, this argument is only strengthened.
How Jean-Clair Todibo compares to William Saliba
Saliba and Todibo once formed an exciting partnership at Nice and Kulig heralded the “diamonds” for their collective efforts, and while the former is now plying his trade in Arsenal’s first-team, considered one of the best centre-backs in the world, it wouldn’t be a poor decision for Tottenham to emulate their city rivals by signing their own version.
Signing for Arsenal from Saint Etienne in 2019 for £27m (as an 18-year-old), Saliba spent several years out on loan, which included a term with Nice, before finally cementing a spot in the Emirates Stadium rearguard, integral in Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing ambitions over the past few years.
Placed alongside Manchester City titan Ruben Dias in the 2022/23 Premier League Team of the Season, the Frenchman was integral in Arsenal’s efforts, playing 27 times before sustaining an injury during the late phase when the Gunners’ grip on pole position slipped and allowed City to storm in front.
Ranking among the top 6% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues for pass completion and the top 7% for passes attempted per 90, the £190k-per-week star is clearly one of the most technically proficient defenders in the business.
Moreover, he averages six ball recoveries per game in the Premier League this term, which highlights the athleticism that allows him to be so crisp and composed in his defensive duties.
Of course, Todibo mirrors such statistics and if he can find the balance between solidity and spark that has served him so well in France over the past few years, then Tottenham could land an exciting new phenom to propel Postecoglou’s project to new heights.