Why Watford should go all out to sign Jean-Clair Todibo in January

Back June, during the summer transfer window, a report from the Sport claimed that Watford were interested in signing French defender Jean-Clair Todibo from Barcelona. However, a move never really materialized and the youngster has since stayed put at Camp Nou. 

The 19-year-old, who joined Barcelona from French club, Toulouse, in January 2019,  has endured a difficult time since his move to the La Liga heavyweights, with the teenager finding regular first-team minutes extremely hard to come by. 

Having featured only twice for Barcelona during the second half of the previous campaign, Todibo has once again cut a peripheral figure at Camp Nou this term, starting only a solitary game in the La Liga so far. 

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Jean-Clair Todibo had been linked with a move to Watford this past summer (Getty Images)

The Frenchman, though, reminded Ernesto Valverde that he is more than capable of delivering the goods against top-quality opposition at the biggest stage of it all, producing a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-1 victory over Inter Milan on Matchday 6 of the UEFA Champions League last week.

However, with Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti all accomplished centre-backs ahead of Todibo in the pecking order at Camp Nou, the youngster’s situation at Barcelona looks unlikely to change in the coming months. 

To that end, an exit from Barcelona in the New Year could well be in the best interests of Todibo’s career, given that constantly sitting on the bench and playing a bit-part role is only going to stall his development. 

With that in mind, Watford should be wise enough to reignite their interest in Jean-Clar Todibo when the transfer window reopens in January and making a renewed attempt to sign the French starlet could well go a long way towards shoring up their brittle defence.

The Hornets currently languish rock-bottom of the Premier League standings after accumulating only a solitary win in 17 games so far, and owner Gino Pozzo will undoubtedly look to try and do all he can with his financial backing in the January window to help the club spark a remarkable turnaround of fortunes in the second half of the season.

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Todibo rose through the youth system at Toulouse in France before completing a move to Barcelona (Getty Images)

Nigel Pearson, who was the architect of Leicester City’s fairytale survival in the Premier League back during the 2014-15 season, faces a herculean task in steering Watford to safety in the top-flight, with the Hornets showing very little signs of turning the tables in recent weeks.

However, significant funds will presumably be made available at his disposal in January to try and spark some kind of a resurgence and bolstering the backline will undoubtedly be top of the club’s transfer agenda during the mid-season trading period. 

Having already shipped 32 goals in 17 games so far, the Hornets are crying out for some much-needed stability at the back, with the existing defensive cavalry of Christian Kabasele, Craig Cathcart, Craig Dawson and Adrian Mariappa just not doing enough to stem the flow of goals. 

Verdict

Todibo,19, is still very young for a centre-back and notwithstanding the fact that he might find it hard to make an immediate impact in the Premier League if a move to Vicarage Road were to materialize in January, the Frenchman could still be a welcome addition to a Watford backline that has been devoid of some young blood for a long while.

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Todibo has found regular minutes hard to come by at Barcelona (Getty Images)

The teenager might not have the experience but his quality and potential have never been in doubt, and playing alongside experienced Premier League defenders like Cathcart, Dawson and Mariappa could well bring the best out of him.

Plus, of course, his schooling at a top club like Barcelona could possibly bring that tactical nous to a defensive unit that has been in sixes and sevens in the Premier League more often than not.

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All in all, Jean-Clair Todibo might not be the most lucrative option for Watford in January but he is certainly worth a punt for the Hornets should he be made available by Barcelona at a reasonable fee.