Manchester United are reportedly gearing themselves up for a frantic final two days of the transfer window after reaching out over a deal to sign Jean-Clair Todibo as the first part of an exciting triple deal – but the fee for the centre-half is now expected to be much higher than expected.
The Red Devils have made an indifferent start to the new season, picking up two wins from their three games, but looking far from convincing in either. And the defeat at Tottenham on matchday two saw an unhappy Erik ten Hag make a demand for a rapid improvement.
And while they picked up the ‘W’ against Nottingham Forest, United’s efforts are being undermined somewhat by something of an injury crisis in defence that is making life troublesome for Ten Hag and Co.
First up, the club are currently without a senior left-back after injuries to Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia. United are being forced to use Diogo Dalot as cover, but moving him across the defence creates another issue by leaving United without right-back cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
As a result, the club has made a series of enquries for a number of possible options. After after being linked with moves for the likes of Marcos Alonso and Marc Cucurella, it seems Ten Hag has settled on a bargain €6m deal for Lyon’s Nicolas Tagliafico.
However, he looks unlikely to be on the only signing from France to arrive at Old Trafford. And according to The Sun, United have now reached out to Nice to find out what it would cost to secure the signing of centre-half Todibo.
Man Utd make Todibo move after Varane injury blow
Unfortunately for United, the lateness of their approach means the Ligue 1 side have hit United with quite a solid valuation.
The French defender, subject of United links for several weeks now, recently turned down a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia. Now, according to The Sun, they have quoted United an eye-watering £47m to complete his signing this late in the window.
To that end, United will try and barter down the price. But it seems the Red Devils will need to spend at least £40m to bring the 23-year-old to Old Trafford.
Per the report, United have also offered the defender a package worth £385,000 a month (£88,000 a week), together with a £3m signing-on bonus.
Featuring in 33 of Nice’s 38 games last season, Todibo has also been the subject of interest from Chelsea this summer before they instead moved for Axel Disasi.
Ultimately, though, United have been forced to make the move in the wake of an injury suffered to Raphael Varane. The World Cup winner limped out of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest and now faces a month on the sidelines.
To cover his absence, Ten Hag has seemingly convinced club bosses to part with the funds needed to sign Todibo.
United also closing on Sofyan Amrabat deal
United will also likely complete a busy final couple of days in the window with the signing of Sofyan Amrabat.
They have tracked the Moroccan for a large part of the summer, believing that patience has been the key to signing a more favourable deal on their terms.
Fiorentina want €30m (£30m) for the midfielder, though United believe that, with just 10 months left on his deal, they can secure his signing for much less.
Now it seems that patience is set to pay off.
And according to trusted journalist David Ornstein, United are looking to sign Amrabat on loan, with the player ‘wanting the move’ to Old Trafford.
To ensure Fiorentina would not miss out on a fee, the player will likely sign an extension to his terms first, with United having an option to sign permanently next summer. A similar arrangement was recently struck by Arsenal when they brought in David Raya from Brentford.
Ornstein’s colleague at The Athletic, journalist Carl Anka, reckons Amrabat would be the perfect signing for Ten Hag and United.
Anka wrote: ‘Amrabat would be an upgrade on Fred, an energetic ball-winner who can keep things ticking.
‘The Moroccan is best as a box-to-box player but can serve as the deepest defensive midfielder when needed.
‘There are flaws – his tackles often give away fouls and lead to yellow cards and his ambition to chase after players in possession can lead to tricky situations where he gets pulled out of position, but he fits what Ten Hag wants.
‘The 27-year-old is the leading candidate, partially because he has worked with Ten Hag at Utrecht. He was used on the right of a midfield diamond for much of their final season together.
‘The United manager has a preference for players he has worked with and Amrabat ticks all the major boxes of what United need.’
If United succeed in signing Amrabat on loan, it will help them comply with FFP limitations. And the permanent option on his signing is likely to be set at around the €30m (£25.5m) mark. The player has already agreed personal terms with United.