Southampton have suffered another blow to their transfer plans after Barcelona announced an agreement with Schalke 04 that will see Jean-Clair Todibo join the Bundesliga side on loan with an option to buy.
Well, according to ESPN, the Saints were believed to be keen on the Frenchman along with fellow Premier League side Watford, while Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan were also eyeing up the centre-back.
The former Toulouse defender has struggled for game time this season at the Camp Nou, making just two La Liga appearances and one in the Champions League.
Todibo joins Schalke 04 on a deal until the end of the campaign, which will cost the German side a €1.5m (£1.3m) loan fee – they also have an option to buy the 20-year-old for €25m (£21.4m) plus €5m (£4.3m) in add-ons, while Barcelona have included a buyback option for €50m (£42.7m) + €10m (£8.5m) in ‘variables’ if Schalke activate their option to buy.
The disappointing Todibo news comes just days after Southampton missed out on another transfer target of theirs in Marin Pongračić.
The Croatian centre-back was believed to be a long-term target for Ralph Hasenhuttl according to Sky Sports, although he decided to return to Germany and join VfL Wolfsburg on a four-and-a-half year contract from RB Salzburg.
Significantly, the double transfer setback means that the Saints must get working on finding alternatives, as there are just 14 days remaining of the window – meaning that Hasenhuttl also has just two weeks to come good on his declaration that the south coast side “will do something” in the full-back positions this month.
“It is absolutely clear that we must do something with the full-back positions. This is definitely a position we’re looking at for the moment and we will do something.”
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Southampton have conceded the third-most goals in the Premier League this season with 39 concessions in 22 games, so the need for defensive reinforcements is certainly there – however, Hasenhuttl can cross Pongračić and Todibo off his list.
In other news, find out about Hasenhuttl’s crucial change-up that may have helped save Southampton’s season…