Harry Kane, the club’s all-time top goalscorer, left in August after even his talismanic brilliance could not save Spurs from languishing to an eighth-placed Premier League finish last season, but the new manager deserves plaudits for navigating through such an obstacle.
It’s hardly classified information that Spurs are eager to bolster the ranks in January, nor is it a secret that augmenting the defence is Postecoglou’s “priority“, as has been professed by the man himself.
With this in mind, the movement surrounding Jean-Clair Todibo‘s future is well worth keeping an eye on, with the OGC Nice defender possibly making the move to north London in the coming weeks.
Spurs transfer news – Jean-Clair Todibo
According to a recent report from TEAMtalk, Tottenham are confident of positive negotiations with Nice over the coming weeks for Todibo and are expected to table an official offer, despite Manchester United’s interest and link to the club through Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently purchased a 25% stake in the Old Trafford side.
It’s understood that a deal with prospective buyers could be achieved for around £35m, with esteemed transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano revealing before Christmas that discussions have already taken place between the respective teams.
With Liverpool and Newcastle United also considering a swoop for the France international, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would be wise to move quickly to get this one over the line and bypass rival suitors.
Jean-Clair Todibo’s style of play
An impressive distributor of the ball, Todibo perhaps absorbed such quality when plying his trade in sunny Catalonia with Barcelona.
While his time with the LaLiga giants didn’t quite work out, he impressed on loan with Nice before completing a permanent transfer in 2021, since blooming into one of France’s standout defenders, described as “solid as a rock” by talent scout Jacek Kulig.
As per FBref, Todibo ranks among the top 8% of central defenders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for passes attempted, the top 17% for pass completion and progressive passes and the top 6% for successful take-ons and tackles per 90.
While Nice are trailing clear favourites Paris Saint-Germain in the Ligue 1 table, they are just five points behind in second place and boast the division’s best defensive record, shipping just nine goals from 17 fixtures.
Naturally, Todibo has been at the heart of such success, impressing in the rearguard with his variegated approach, effectively stamping out opponents’ attempts, recycling possession and using his enterprising mindset to set the ball through the thirds with fizz.
As per Sofascore, he has started 14 times in the French top-flight this term, keeping eight clean sheets, completing 91% of his passes, averaging 7.9 ball recoveries and 3.2 clearances per game while winning 71% of his dribbles and 59% of his contested duels.
This highlights the 24-year-old’s dynamic style that would be welcomed with open arms down the N17; in the summer, Postecoglou completed the £43m signingof Wolfsburg centre-half Micky van de Ven, with the Dutchman’s athleticism and pace providing a singular skill set that is not easily combated.
Van de Ven was the heartbeat at the back throughout the opening months of the campaign but has been sidelined for the past few months with a hamstring injury, and while he is nearing a return, his absence has illuminated the difference a first-rate player can make to the overall cohesion of the squad.
Cristian Romero has also fluctuated from availability to absence since the start of November, with a three-match suspension overcome to contribute to the recent revival before a recent hamstring issue ruled him out for the next five weeks.
While Romero is one of the finest centre-backs in the Premier League, adding Todibo to the fold could prove to be a masterful addition.
How Jean-Clair Todibo compares to Cristian Romero
It’s a bold claim to suggest that Todibo is a better player than Romero, but then such a claim would not be conjecture, with the Frenchman’s brilliant ball-playing skills and imposing presence on the pitch the perfect blend to slot right into Postecoglou’s fluid system.
But, as the hackneyed phrase goes, the best ability is availability and Romero, for all of his attributes, is allowing his aggression and tenacity in his defensive application to get the better of him, having been fortunate not to receive a red card against Newcastle after returning from his three-match suspension.
The £165k-per-week machine does rank among the top 14% of positional peers for goals, the top 16% for passes attempted and pass completion, the top 6% for tackles and the top 17% for blocks per 90, having also been hailed for his “ridiculous bravery” by The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare.
With Todibo considered to be a “Rolls-Royce” of a player by journalist and U23 scout Antonio Mango, he could develop into one of Europe’s leading central defenders over the coming years, and be placed into Spurs’ system, with Postecoglou implementing a style that would bring the best of his technical skills to the fore, he could take the coveted spot as the top cat in front of Guglielmo Vicario’s goal.