Front and rear derailleurs have no interactions, so there's no concept of direct compatibility between them.
Rear derailleurs have to be compatible with the rear shifter, cassette, chain. Front derailleurs have to be compatible with the front shifter, crank and chain. Obviously there is some interplay between the front and rear drivetrain.
I don't think that a 10 speed triple derailleur will work well with a 9 speed triple shifter and crank. Shimano changed actuation ratios (ratio of cable length pulled to cage movement) on 10 speed MTB groups.
I'm not sure that an old M980 derailleur from 2010 is really an upgrade anyway. Any benefit of a better front derailleur would be completely masked by the performance of the lower level shifter. Safer to get a current Shimano 3x9 Alivio or Acera front derailleur replacement.