Southampton are allegedly in the race for Barcelona youngster Jean-Clari Tobido, according to reports.
The Sunday People (August 4; page 48, via HITC) have said that Saints are wanting to add Tobido on loan this summer as Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to sure up his defence before the start of the season.
According to the report, 19-year-old Tobido is highly rated in Barcelona and they are willing to allow him to learn from the Premier League and have a season away from the Camp Nou.
The versatile centre-half – who can also play in defensive midfield – joined Barcelona from Toulouse in January 2019, after playing 10 games for the French side in Ligue 1 that season. Upon moving to Barcelona, he played twice in the league before the season came to an end.
A scout report at Total Football Analysis says that Tobido is very “fast, intelligent, good on the ball, strong in duels and even at moving the ball forward”, however, the defender has been described as ‘unpolished’.
Even though Southampton have a fair few centre-backs at their disposal, they haven’t always been trusted by Hasenhuttl. For example, in their squad, they have Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek, Wesley Hoedt, Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida all available to the Austrian manager. Hoedt was forced out on loan in January last year and the other four had a very even split of games: Bednarek played 25, Stephens 24, Vestergaard 23 and Yoshida played 17 – so there is definitely room for someone to hold down a place there, especially if Hasenhuttl fancies playing five at the back.
However, when you consider that Southampton already have five accomplished centre-backs readily available, then it might be a rather tall ask for Tobido to expect first-team football next year, and if he’s not getting that, what would be the point of his transfer?
If Jean-Clair Tobido wants first-team football, then this isn’t the right move for Southampton and Barcelona, as it’s unlikely he will get into Hasenhuttl’s starting 11 considering his lack of experience.
Even with Hasenhuttl often favouring three centre-backs (Transfermarkt), he would be better off playing one of his current options. If Southampton do get cover in at centre-back, they could benefit from someone who has played more than 12 league games. Saints have no need to polish one of Barca’s defenders, especially if they’re not getting much out of it themselves.
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