Manchester United are far from finished in the transfer market, despite already securing the signings of Mason Mount, Andre Onana, and Rasmus Hojlund.
The budget may be lean, but the imminent departures of Fred and Harry Maguire to Fenerbahce and West Ham respectively will breathe new life into The Red Devils’ ability to strengthen the squad as the new season gets underway.
As reported by The Peoples Person yesterday, a scout was present in the Ligue 1 curtain raiser between OGC Nice and Lille, with Jean-Clair Todibo and Khephren Thuram of interest.
Thuram will certainly have impressed the Man United representative in the opening stages of the match, as he overall enjoyed a fine first half.
The big highlight came inside of twenty minutes, when he won possession from the Lille midfield with a reflexive interception just deep of the centre circle as Remy Cabella tried to flick the ball past him, before dribbling into the opposition territory.
An incisive pass into Terem Moffi followed, and the Nigerian was well placed to set up Gaëtan Laborde for a cool finish.
That move would never have occurred without three exceptional pieces of skill from Thuram; the interception, the progressive carry, and the progressive pass. If Erik ten Hag truly wants to turn Man United into “the best transition team in the world” as he says, a player like Thuram looks well-suited, based on yesterday’s match.
It was not the only time the Frenchman turned defence into attack in an instant either. He completed a further four tackles and directly created three chances, at least one of which ought to have been converted. But poor finishing from Nice gave Lille a way back into the match.
Thuram’s withdrawal shortly before the hour-mark, as part of a triple substitution, was something of a peculiarity. The player was not injured and had been playing well. It was notable that Lille’s foothold in the game was strengthened upon the midfielder’s replacement.
As for Todibo, in truth 39-year-old Dante appeared to be the more dominant defender – surprisingly so, given the former’s role in the team last season. As discussed by The Peoples Person elsewhere, the former Barcelona man was often tasked with winning the ball high up the pitch and defending on the front foot, but he seemed oddly passive against Lille.
He did not compete in a single aerial challenge over the course of 90 minutes on the pitch, leaving that task to his captain, and completed only one tackle.
To his credit, he was effective in bringing the ball out of defence on a couple of occasions, and he did show decent awareness in covering Youssef Atal, and later Jordan Lotomba, when they surged up the wing from the right fullback position. But it was far from a vintage display.
All in all, both players will have confirmed to Manchester United’s scout that they still have the attributes that will have made them attractive in the first place. Were either (or both) to sign, fans would have plenty of reason to be optimistic. At this early point in the season, however, it feels as though Jean-Clair Todibo would take a little longer to get going than Khephren Thuram.
(All stats via SofaScore)