OGC Nice manager Francesco Farioli hopes to keep hold of Jean-Clair Todibo but was unable to rule out a transfer before Thursday’s deadline.

Todibo has been linked with an exit from the French side all summer, with Manchester United said to be one of several clubs eyeing the 23-year-old. Erik ten Hag had been in the market for defensive reinforcements after a £30million bid from West Ham for Harry Maguire was accepted.

The United defender’s transfer fell through last week after David Moyes’ side became frustrated at the slow process. But links with Todibo continued regardless, with French outlet L’Equipe reporting this week that a move was close after a £34million fee had been agreed.

United are not the only team with an eye on Todibo and Nice have a challenge on their hands in keeping hold of the defender until Thursday’s 11pm deadline. And while Farioli is hopeful, he admits it is hard to make any guarantees just yet.

“These rumours have existed since the start, so we’ve developed antibodies against them – be it the team or myself,” Farioli said ahead of his side’s game against Lyon on Sunday. “There are a few days left – we’ll see.

“There is a chance that he stays, and I would be happy because he’s a quality player and he would be very hard to replace. I hope the rumours stay rumours.”

Todibo was thought to be among a number of central defenders identified by Ten Hag in the case of Maguire’s exit, however the former Reds captain now looks set to stay and fight for his place. United now have far bigger priorities to address over the next six days, namely at left-back with Luke Shaw injured.

The 28-year-old has picked up a muscular injury and although the club announced he would be out for ‘a number of weeks’, there are fears that prognosis could extend to two months. Tyrell Malacia returned from his summer break with an unspecified injury and is yet to feature, while Brandon Williams joined Ipswich Town on loan this week.

Work could still be done in midfield as well, with Mason Mount also injured and United looking vulnerable in that area against both Wolves and Tottenham. Sofyan Amrabat has been of interest, while a late move is being considered for Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch.

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