The entire footballing world is today ripe about two upcoming prospects from Ajax, Frankie De Jong and Matthis De Ligt with top teams all in race to sign these two starlets. Naturally , Barcelona were also in the market as both De Jong and De Ligt looks like generational talents and Barca are in look for long term replacements of both Sergio Buesqets and Gerard Pique. Barca were in recent days said to be front runner for De Ligt, since Pique is approaching his twilight fast and Barcelona require a talented and competent CB to fill in the big shoes which Pique will leave behind and De Ligt fits the bill perfectly. At only 19 years old, he already have appeared in an European Final (UEL 2017) , is mainstay at the heart of defence for a renowned team like Ajax and already has captained the side. A strong and technical player, he has great composure and abilities on the ball, is deceptively fast, has exceptional leadership qualities and great reading of the game, in short he has all that takes to be one of the best in world in upcoming years. Naturally both him and De Jong are hot commodities today with multiple clubs lining up and both of them will cost a premium. Barca were pursuing them with every bit of effort and news was there that there was positive signs and intent from Ajax too and recent news was reporting that Barca have made De Ligt a priority ahead of De Jong since their premium price means Barca can’t afford them both and CB situation being precarious for Barca. Also teams like PSG,City etc pursuing (Pep is said to be hell bent on bringing De Jong at City) means Barca are forced to concentrate on their more pressing need at present moment since Buesqets can still slog in for a few more years. Naturally Barca were in poll position to sign De Ligt. But the situation has changed suddenly.
Latest news have come in that Barca are on the verge of securing the highly rated Toulouse CB, Jean Clair Todibo beating the likes of Liverpool,Spurs and others. Jean Clair Todibo is the latest name emerging from the latest talent factory of world football i.e. Ligue 1 and Abidal is said to have scouted him personally. Keep it in mind, when a technical director of Barca scouts a player personally, it turns out that Barca have devoted serious thought and research for the player and will now use all their efforts to sign him, most recent case being Arthur. So what happened to the De Ligt pursuit then, if Barca are suddenly after Todibo and the player is rumored to be joining Barca next season? Does he have the same potential as De Ligt? Let us take a look at Todibo and his profile and first establish the fact, he is nowhere near De Ligt in pedigree at the moment simply because he is yet to complete his first senior season at Toulouse and De Ligt already is a veteran for Ajax and have great experience of European football too, despite De Ligt’s being 19 only. Todibe is 18 , but experience and pedigree wise he is further away. But style wise, Todibo suits Barca style too. Originally a midfielder by trade, he shifted to Centre of Defence and have caught the eyes of many in even less than a season he has played. He is strong , fast and have great abilities on the ball, though he is yet to be tested on European stage like De Ligt. But Barca and Abidal must have seen something in him to have scouted him so closely. Also the last defender Barca scouted from Ligue 1 turned out to be a gem and one of the best transfer’s in recent history in the form of Samuel Umtiti. If Todibo comes and fulfills his potential, that means Barca can fulfill their pressing needs without much financial implications (Todibo will be free whilst De Ligt have the dreaded Mino Raiola as his agent who will make matters much worse economically in any deal for the purchasing club) and instead can focus on either De Jong or a long term replacement for Luis Suarez or both. It’s definitely a gamble taken by Barca which, if successful, can reap high rewards.
By Arindam Chakraborty