Liverpool 'nearly' signed ex-Barcelona defender being targeted by Man Utd for £40m

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Liverpool transfer news: The Nice defender was once considered as a potential signing in 2019.

Liverpool reportedly wanted to sign the former Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo in 2019 before he chose a move to Spain.

Todibo has developed a strong reputation in France since leaving Barcelona and has been one of the defenders in Ligue 1 in recent times. The Reds’ last signing at the back was Ibrahim Konate for £36m in 2021 and Jarell Quansah has been promoted into the first-team after a brief loan spell at Bristol Rovers last year.

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With Joel Matip set to depart at the end of the season, there is a growing feeling we could see a defender arrive in the summer but the transfer rumour mill is working overtime and a number of players have been linked across different sources. One defender who could certainly make an impact is the Manchester United-linked Todibo - who is reportedly available for £40m this summer.

According to Football agent Bruno Satin, Liverpool were in the running to sign the Frenchman five years ago from Toulouse. "[Former Napoli director Cristiano] Giuntoli asked me, but there was Liverpool, Juventus and Leverkusen, but then the boy wanted Barcelona and we chose to accommodate him,” Satin told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli, via TuttomercatoWeb.

In the same window Liverpool did opt to sign a defender, bringing in 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle but he has only made four senior appearances for the club after numerous loan spells away developing his game. Konate arrived two years later and with Virgil van Dijk now 32,with just a year left on his current deal, the club may be poised to strengthen at the back especially with the potential hiring of Ruben Amorim who favours three centre-backs in his side.

Interestingly, Todibo would be an excellent signing. Despite Nice’s drop in form in recent months, in February they had conceded just 14 goals in the league and he had formed a brilliant partnership with former Bayern Munich defender Dante. His figures show that he is statistically most similar to Dante (1st) and Konate (2nd) and is physically imposing at 1.90m and is an excellent ball-carrier.

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Plus, he averages more tackles, more possession, more recoveries, more clearances but falls short in ground, aerial and total duels to the former RB Leipzig defender. Nevertheless, with interest growing he claimed back in September that he would wait for the right project. “I didn’t want to make the wrong choice. I wait for people to present me with full projects. What is expected of me? Why bring me in? You can’t arrive at a club like that. I know what I have at Nice. Why step into the unknown.”

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