The first half of last season saw Jean Claire Todibo become one of the best young defenders in French football. His performances for Toulouse had attracted interest from many European elites. Months after all that hype, the teenager is running short of playing time at Barcelona.
Last season, Todibo appeared only twice for Barcelona towards the end of the season. Reports linked him with a move to Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain when the Catalans were looking to sign Matthijs de Ligt and Neymar.
A situation like that is very reminiscent of Yerry Mina. The Colombian joined Barcelona in the winter of 2018 but was sold to Everton that very summer. He was sold on for a profit despite never being handed a proper chance.
With Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet high up in the pecking order, it is tough for anyone else to break into the side. Mina was an emerging defender and was in need of playing time to develop. The same goes for Todibo, even though he has appeared twice this season (Via Transfermarkt).
How Mina was sold on for a profit months after being signed shows a lot about how Barca operate. The transfer policy is wishy-washy. The way in which they were looking to replace Ousmane Dembele with the man (Neymar) that the Frenchman replaced is proof.
Things happen with zero plan in the transfer policy. Malcom was signed from Bordeaux last summer, but has already been shipped to Zenit in Russia. Philippe Coutinho was brought in for big money from Liverpool but he has been replaced just 16 months on.
It is probably this lack of plan in the transfer decisions that is dragging Barcelona back. Talents are signed not because they are guaranteed first-team football. But because another European rival will not get it. Or because it will get the attention back onto Barcelona when they’re failing in Europe.
Clubs like Juventus and Napoli had been linked with Todibo well before Barcelona swooped in. If one of the Serie A giants signed him, Barcelona would have lost out on one of the best defensive talents in the world. Barca signed him even when they don’t have a plan for him.
The fact that Barca were considering selling Todibo to sign someone like Neymar or De Ligt shows how they operate. They focus on signing superstars by sacrificing their young talents. No matter when they signed them. Sadly, that is not how a club like Barcelona should operate.
That, by no means, infers to the fact that Todibo should be a regular starter for the Catalans. He isn’t better than Lenglet or Pique in anyway, even though he impressed for Toulouse in the first half of last season.
The Frenchman was one of Toulouse’s best players last season, having become a key part of the side at the age of 18. Winning as many as 2.5 aerial duels per game is an impressive stat for any youngster. His no-nonsense approach helped him make 6.2 clearances per game (via Whoscored)
He also made 2.1 tackles per game. What is even more impressive is that he was dribbled past only twice even though he made 23 tackles in total in the first half of the season. His reading of game has been deemed good enough for him play a defensive midfield role too.
If he had joined Napoli, Todibo might have played more than he has at the Nou Camp-based side. He might have been a very effective defensive midfield option, with the partenopei lacking a ball-winner in the heart of the park this season.
He might not have played much at Juventus too but the Old Lady have a habit of loaning out their youngsters to lesser Serie A sides. Luca Pellegrini was signed from Roma and was loaned out to Cagliari. Cristian Romero was signed from Genoa and was sent back to the club for another season.
Todibo’s career is not in a spot where he is thriving. Barcelona showed their intentions by nearly selling him on. That is an indication of how much they value him. He needs to get a loan move away from the Nou Camp as soon as the chance arrives.