Firstly, Liverpool needs to get a deal for a holding midfielder or two over the line, but Jürgen Klopp has also got a fairly major need to bring in another center-back to help out a defense that has leaked goals during pre-season. And picking up a seasoned defender with European experience would surely make a lot of sense.

The aging Joël Matip is out of contract next summer and interest in Nat Phillips will likely intensify as the summer continues, with the defender in dire need of a move to get some minutes. But Liverpool needs to bring in a player to supplement its ranks.

Klopp clearly sees Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté as his first-choice pairing, consistently picking the duo together whenever fitness has allowed it. However, changes to his system in recent months may eventually see Andy Robertson phased out of a back-four in favor of a more 'traditional' center-back to accommodate Trent Alexander Arnold's new role as an 'inverted full-back'.

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Furthermore, the form of Joe Gomez has been inconsistent at times this season and Klopp may be keen to add a more reliable option to his ranks in the summer. All of these points considered, links at the start of the summer with OGC Nice center-back Jean-Clair Todibo did make logical sense, with the 23-year-old set to be subject to interest from a host of elite clubs including Liverpool in the coming months, according to French outlet L’Equipe.

The former Barcelona defender was also attracting interest from Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Manchester United, the report (published in May) stated at the time, as well as Italian giants Napoli and Juventus. He could be available for the relatively cheap price of $33m (£26m/€30m) this summer. Nothing had materialized until now, but Manchester United, seeking a replacement for Harry Maguire, is considering Todibo as a new center-back, the Daily Mail reports. Liverpool should be looking at the former Barcelona man as well.

Todibo, who has been called up to the French national team squad in recent months, initially signed for Nice on loan back in 2021 and has excelled since moving to Les Aiglons, making around 100 appearances in that time. That's a complete turnaround since his Barcelona days, where he was only ever able to make five appearances in all competitions.

Looking closer at his numbers in the past year, it is clear why some of Europe's top clubs are keeping a close eye on the 1.90m (6ft 3in) star. According to FBref, Todibo is in the top eight per cent of all defenders from across the continent's top five leagues in terms of tackles per 90 minutes, demonstrating his defensive solidity.

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

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Furthermore, he has a clear suitability to a system such as Klopp's, where defenders are expected to be comfortable on the ball. The France U21s international is in the top three per cent of his peers for successful take-ons per 90 minutes, as well as the top eight per cent for progressive passes. The aforementioned Matip has often been described as an 'attacking center-back', given his frequent forays into midfield with the ball and it would be fair to say Todibo is similar in this respect.

What will also particularly appeal to Klopp, one would surmise, is Todibo's availability, with first-choice center-backs Van Dijk and Konaté both having missed an alarming 20 matches between them in total last term. In contrast, the Frenchman has not missed a game through injury this season, or at any point since his move to Nice for that matter.

In that respect, he is more of a replacement for Van Dijk than Matip, with the Dutchman serving as a bastion of availability and reliability before suffering a long-term injury against Everton in 2020/21. Klopp would love to restore that quality to his Liverpool team.

Of course, Liverpool has been linked with a plethora of names in recent times as potential signings in the center-back position, but Joško Gvardiol has gone to Manchester City for mega money and Levi Colwill has signed a new contract with Chelsea. Todibo seems much more realistic to expect the Reds to go for a player who would command a lower price yet still provide quality and experience.

While there is still plenty for Liverpool to get done this summer, a new center-back being signed is a must and Klopp will want a defender he can rely on. In many respects, Todibo fits the bill on both counts and could prove to be nothing short of a bargain as Liverpool ultimately looks ahead to a future without Van Dijk.

An original version of this article was first published on May 2.