Bundesliga side Schalke have completed the loan signing of Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo until the end of the season with an option to buy him in the summer for £21million. The 20-year-old becomes the second player to join the Royal Blues on loan from Barcelona, following the arrival of left-back Juan Miranda in August.
The defender joined Barca from Toulouse in the summer but has failed to break into Ernesto Valverde’s first-team plans. Since arriving at Camp Nou Todibo has played four games for the La Liga champions, with three appearances in La Liga and one in the Champions League.
Todibo, who was unveiled as a Barcelona player last year in February, played a key part in knocking out Milan’s rivals Inter in the Champions League, featuring for the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 victory at San Siro. He had previously been linked with AC Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester United but Schakle emerged the preferred destination for the Frenchman.
FutballNews understands that the Bundesliga club paid a £1.3m loan fee to Barca and the Catalan have the option to buy the Frenchman back for £42m should a permanent move be completed. Schalke are having a decent season and are currently fifth in the table, only three points behind champions Bayern Munich in third.
Speaking on why he joined the German club, Todibo said Schalke’s success with young players helped make his mind up. Todibo could make his debut as soon as Friday when Schalke take on second-place Borussia Mönchengladbach at home.
He told the official Schalke website that: “During talks with the club’s management team I became convinced by their project of pursuing success with young players.
“That’s why I decided to come here.”
Injuries to Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli have restricted Schalke coach David Wagner’s defensive options this season, with six players such as midfielders Weston McKennie and Omar Mascarell having been tried at centre-back already.
“Jean-Clair is one of the best young centre-backs in Europe right now,” said Wagner.
“As Stambouli’s recovery will take a bit longer than expected, it makes sense to have another central defender on board, and he can also play in defensive midfield. We’ll give him all the support he needs to further develop the potential he clearly has. We’re very much looking forward to it.”