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Manchester United, Chelsea-linked Jean-Clair Todibo open to Barcelona return

Man Utd, Chelsea-linked Todibo open to Barcelona return
© Reuters
Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo refuses to rule out a potential return to Barcelona, despite reported interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.

Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo has refused to rule out a potential return to Barcelona, despite reported interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.

After beginning his career with Toulouse, Todibo joined Barca in January 2019, but he struggled to gain regular first-team football at Camp Nou.

Indeed, the 24-year-old made just five senior appearances in his first 12 months with the Catalan giants and he found himself behind the likes of Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet and Ronald Araujo in the pecking order.

Todibo eventually moved on loan to Schalke 04, Benfica and Nice before joining the latter on a permanent deal in 2021, and he has since blossomed into a star player for the Ligue 1 club.

The Frenchman has made 124 appearances in all competitions for Nice and has been a standout performer in the 2023-24 campaign, starting 19 Ligue 1 matches and helping Les Aiglons keep 12 clean sheets.

OGC Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo during the warm up before the match  on December 9, 2023© Reuters

Todibo's impressive form for Nice is understood to have caught the eye of a number of top European clubs including Man United and Chelsea, who are believed to be keen to bolster their defensive ranks this summer.

Man United, in particular, are known to be in the market for a new right-sided centre-back amid uncertainty over the futures of Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans, who are both out of contract this summer.

Fellow Premier League sides Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, have also been credited with an interest in Todibo, who is under contract at Nice until June 2027.

Earlier this month, Todibo claimed that he does not want to give Nice supporters "false hope" by committing his future to the club, and he refused to close the door on a possible transfer to the Premier League.

However, English top-flight clubs could face competition from Barcelona, as Todibo has admitted that he would be open to a return to the La Liga giants.

Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo pictured training on August 5, 2023© Reuters

Asked about a possible return to Barcelona during an interview with Canal+, Todibo said: "Why not? I don't regret [my previous spell at the club], not at all.

"Barcelona is still a great experience. I learned a lot from Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, it did me good. I discovered the very, very high level.

"I didn't have the desired minutes because there were very, very big players in front of me. I also had a coach, Ernesto Valverde, who was under pressure, so it was normal for him to play Gerard Pique instead of an inexperienced 19-year-old."

It has previously been reported that Nice value Todibo in excess of £50m, a figure which could proved to be a stumbling block for Barcelona amid their well-documented financial concerns.

Head coach Xavi, who is leaving Barca at the end of the season, has primarily used Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde at centre-back this season, while Inigo Martinez and Pau Cubarsi have also featured in the heart of the defence.

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