Jean Clair Todibo joined Barcelona on a free transfer in January 2019. A shrewd signing without paying a penny for a talented young defender. Barcelona doing good transfer business without paying significantly over the odds? Yes, it’s a rarity nowadays. Either way, chances were scarce for the young Frenchman at the Camp Nou. Just 5 appearances in all competitions across his one and a half seasons with the Blaugrana prompted a 6 month loan to Schalke. So far he’s been great.
The 20 year old has played well in the Bundesliga since joining the Die Knappen in January. The problem for Barcelona is that he might be playing too well for their liking. In the loan deal for Todibo, Schalke have a €25 million option to buy. A fee perhaps a bit low and within the German club’s reach to trigger it.
Despite not hitting the ground running when he arrived at the Catalan club, the Toulouse youth product has great potential and if Schalke don’t trigger the buy-out clause, I think he has a future in Spain. The long term successor to Pique perhaps, considering Umtiti’s injury problems. To move to Barcelona in the first place after just 10 games in Ligue 1 is gutsy. It either shows a strong mentality or nativity. You’d like to think it’s the former.
Jean Clair Todibo – Style of Play
In this game against Mainz, Todibo looks very assured and confident. The composure he has in possession of the ball is impressive for such a young player looking to impressive his parent club and prove a point. 87.9% pass accuracy as a centre half is very tidy. 2.8 long balls per game too shows he’s willing to play out from the back and build up attacks. The ball control and comfort on the ball you expect from a Barcelona defender.
At 6ft 3, the former Toulouse defender is an obvious physical presence. You expect him to dominate attackers with his height and strength. To have these physical qualities at such a young age means he won’t be bullied by forwards. It compliments his technical ability too.
Moreover, the France U20 international’s defensive output has been good so far in 2019/20. 2 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game highlights he’s been busy for Schalke at the back. For the most part, Todibo is calm and calculated when defending. But the clips do show on occasions that he does take risks. Whether that be holding onto the ball too long, or making a poor pass. With experience, you expect these mistakes to be reduced significantly and it’s worth remembering he’s just 20 years old.
Overall though, very positive signs for the Barcelona loanee. I know it’s only been 5 appearances so far, but it’s promising. They’ll be hoping the German side don’t trigger that buyout clause, because this could has potential to be another ‘one that got away’ scenario.
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