Benjamin Pavard, Jean-Clair Todibo, and Edmond Tapsoba are potential Manchester United replacements for Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire is close to a Manchester United exit, with a summer switch to West Ham in the offing.

However, the Carabao Cup winners can ill-afford to muddle through the season without an additional centre-back, particularly given Raphael Varane’s injury history, so a new defender to ease Maguire’s departure is key.


Maguire looks set to join the Hammers, but is still available for UnitedCredit: Getty

Here, take a closer look at the three players linked with a move to United to bolster their backline.

Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich)

The signing of Kim Min-Jae and emergence of Noussair Mazraoui may limit Benjamin Pavard’s game time at Bayern Munich this season, and the German side, despite the departure of Lucas Hernandez for PSG, are prepared to entertain offers for the Frenchman.

Pavard has been linked with a Premier League switch this summer, with Manchester City and Liverpool both rumoured to be keen on the 2018 World Cup winner, however it’s United who may yet win any race for the versatile operator.

The 27-year-old returned a rating of 7.17, and that was enough to make the European team of the season, and part of the reason behind the interest is undoubtedly the ability to play at both right-back and centre-back.

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This in turn would allow United to cash in on either Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Deigo Dalot should they wish. However, the driving factor behind the interest in the France international is his distribution.

Pavard ranked fourth for passes per game (74.4) in the Bundesliga last season, while a pass success rate of 89.9% placed sixth.

In Ten Hag’s desire for dominance, Pavard is the ideal fit in the United backline, particular with a ball playing goalkeeper of Andre Onana’s ilk between the sticks. He’s a player who’d improve United’s defence significantly, and one they should prioritise.

Pavard could be on his way to Ten Hag's side this summer


Pavard could be on his way to Ten Hag’s side this summerCredit: Getty

Jean-Clair Todibo (Nice)

Only Lens (29) conceded fewer goals than Nice (37) in Ligue 1 last season, and much of that sound defensive resolve was down to the performances of Jean-Clair Todibo.

The youngster has been a key player for Nice following his arrival from Barcelona, who didn’t really give the 23-year-old a fair crack of the whip during his short stint in Spain.

However, Todibo has maximised his regular game time in France to establish himself as one of the finest young centre-backs in Europe.

Todibo was not at Barcelona long but he does have a LaLiga winners' medal


Todibo was not at Barcelona long but he does have a LaLiga winners’ medalCredit: Getty

Todibo won possession in the defensive third more times (175) than any other player in Ligue 1 last season, and, like compatriot Pavard, has shown the willingness to get the ball down and play out from the back, a key asset for United boss Ten Hag.

Indeed, the Nice star ranked 11th for passes per game (63.8) and boasted the 30th best pass success rate (88.9%) in the division, and he clearly benefited from playing alongside the experienced Dante to boost his reputation.

A need to set Nice on the front foot is also a desirable trait that will have impressed United. A return of 771 forward passes ranked seventh of all outfield players in Ligue 1 last season, with Todibo more than willing to help instigate attacks from defence.

While he may not boast the versatility of Pavard, at four years the Bayern man’s junior, there is an argument to be made that Todibo’s ceiling is higher. He’d fit the bill for United, that’s for sure.

Ten Hag is still eyeing up additions with a defender wanted


Ten Hag is still eyeing up additions with a defender wantedCredit: Getty

Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen)

Earlier this summer, there was the suggestion that Tottenham would have to prioritise either Edmond Tapsoba or Micky van de Ven. Ultimately, Spurs signed the latter, and that means the former is now seemingly up for grabs.

Bayer Leverkusen won’t sell their prized centre-back on the cheap, but even at just 24 years of age, Tapsoba boasts ample European and top-flight experience to utilise.

Like Todibo, Tapsoba is one who is more than capable of getting the ball rolling from defence having made more forward passes (879) than any other outfield player in the Bundesliga last season.

Tapsoba has previously admitted enjoys watching Stones, Van Dijk in the Premier League


Tapsoba has previously admitted enjoys watching Stones, Van Dijk in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty

However, while the Burkina Faso international is capable of picking out a teammate with ease, it’s perhaps of a lower standard to both Pavard and Todibo.

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In turn, though, that could be due to Tapsoba taking more risks in his quest to get Bayer Leverkusen forward.

Ultimately it does depend on whether Ten Hag demands greater control within games or if he’d be prepared to sacrifice possession in pursuit of getting the ball upfield quicker. If the latter, then Tapsoba would be a solid addition.

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