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Dragusin alternative: Spurs line up move for £40m “Rolls-Royce”, he plays like Van Dijk

Ange Postecoglou needs to fortify his defence with a first-rate signing this winter.

It should come as no surprise that Tottenham Hotspur is looking to add a defender in January after Ange Postecoglou stated in December that the defense will be given “priority” before the January transfer market opens.

Chairman Daniel Levy has sent a page outlining desires for new faces across the thirds, so the scruffy-faced manager’s attention will not stop there. Though it is unclear how much of this will actually happen this month, efforts will be made none the less.

It’s all relative, and having finished eighth in the Premier League last season, losing Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, Spurs have been excellent in perching in fifth place – one point behind Arsenal in the top four – after 20 games.

And that’s with Spurs having to contend with a range of injuries to influential first-team stars and with both of Postecoglou’s first-choice centre-backs out injured right now, it’s understandable that a winter signing is desired.

Spurs transfer news – Jean-Clair Todibo

According to TEAMtalk, Manchester United, Tottenham, and rival Chelsea have all entered the race for OGC Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo. It is expected that proposals up to approximately £40 million will be considered.

Expert in transfers Fabricio Romano revealed that Spurs’ attempts to sign the midfielder might not succeed given Genoa’s interest in Radu Dragusin. This week, the Romanian’s contract is almost complete and is expected to be transferred, which would fulfill Postecoglou’s need for a quick deal.

Nonetheless, with Eric Dier headed for the exit when his contract expires in June and Spurs’ squad thinness proving to be the Achilles heel this term, efforts could still be made to bring the France international to Tottenham.

Jean-Clair Todibo’s season in numbers

It would take a herculean effort to topple the Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain this season but Nice are giving it a good shot, five points behind the table-toppers after 17 matches and boasting the best defensive record in the division with only nine goals shipped.


Todibo has been a crucial component of this endeavor, gradually improving to become one of the top defenders in French football after joining from Barcelona in 2021. Although he didn’t make an impact there, he picked up many ball-playing skills that have since shaped his game.

According to Sofascore, despite playing in just 14 games in Ligue 1, Todibo has completed 91% of his passes, made an astounding 7.9 ball recoveries and 3.2 clearances per game, won 71% of his dribbles, and won 65% of his aerial duels.

Jean-Clair Todibo: Key Characteristics
Strengths Weaknesses
Passing Discipline
Aerial duels
*Sourced via WhoScored

With traits that would make him a custom-made addition to a squad such as Spurs’, it’s not surprising that there has been such a vested interest in a deal, and while talks have halted, there must be a reluctance to allow him to fall into rival clutches.

Jean-Clair Todibo’s style of play

Despite his inconsistent performance over the last few years, Todibo has managed to carve out a significant niche for himself. He’s long been thought of as a player who can compete in the European game at the greatest levels.

Talent scout Jacek Kulig has referred to 6’3″ Toddibo, who is comfortable on the offensive and defensive ends, as the “complete” player.

In Europe’s top five leagues, Todibo is in the top 6% of center backs for successful take-ons and pass attempts, the top 18% for progressive passes, the top 20% for interceptions, and the top 5% for tackles per ninety. FBref is the foundation for these figures.

These actions highlight his defensive skills as well as his unquestionably excellent ball-playing ability, which will help him thrive in the English Premier League. Antonio Mango, a journalist and U23 scout, described him as a “Rolls-Royce” type of player.

Dragusin’s availability for transfer this week makes him a potential addition for the Lilywhites, as their management may be enticed to sign him. Todibo, on the other hand, seems to be the team’s most seasoned player right now. Although he would be more expensive—Levy is supposedly aiming to agree to a £25 million contract for Dragusin—he might be essential to the team’s efforts to finish in the top four this season.

Spurs could repeat Van de Ven blinder by signing “incredibly fast” star

The January transfer window is going to be busy down the N17, with multiple moves being lined up.

Especially considering that Todibo bears similarities in his game to Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk, who is arguably the best centre-half in the world right now.

How Jean-Clair Todibo compares to Virgil van Dijk

Even Liverpool supporters would find a tough time arguing that Van Dijk was at the top of his game last season,

Despite the fact that the Netherlands captain was deeply troubled as Jurgen Klopp’s team reached previously unheard-of lows, he has bounced back after the summer break.

The 32-year-old, who is unstoppable in the air, has completed 91% of his passes in 18 Premier League games in 2023–24. He also averages five ball recoveries and 4.5 clearances a game and wins a staggering 82% of his aerial duels.

Todibo has shown a similar degree of aerial domination this season (winning a good 65% of his duels), and he naturally delivers a rangy style that has been the foundation of his success in his native country. Football Transfers’ player comparison model lists him as a comparable player to the Redman.

Although the £20,000-per-week Les Aiglons player does not engage in aerial duels as frequently, he obviously chooses his moments, demonstrating a footballing intelligence that Postecoglou would only serve to emphasize.

Furthermore, despite his incredible skill, Micky van de Ven has only won 44% of his aerial duels in the Premier League. By pairing Todibo with Cristian Romero, for example, this might perhaps address this vulnerability.

In the end, it’s evident that Postecoglou has options, and the intention is to sign a central defender this month. However, perhaps exercising some caution and holding off on signing Todibo would be a wise decision in the long run, ensuring the Tottenham defense’s strength indefinitely

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