Everton have held talks with Barcelona over a permanent move for centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, who is currently on a short-term loan with Bundesliga side Schalke.
Todibo only joined Barcelona from Toulouse in January 2019, but the France Under-20 international has struggled to settle at the Camp Nou and made just five appearances for the club before being shipped out on loan this season.
The 20-year-old doesn’t appear to have a first-team place waiting for him at Barcelona next season, but the Daily Mail reports Everton have already made contact with the club as they consider a move ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Todibo’s current loan deal with Schalke does include an option to buy, which is believed to be set at around £21m, but it’s expected the Bundesliga side will struggle to pay his fee due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.
That’s alerted Everton to the situation, who apparently believe they could secure Todibo’s signature for as little as £17.4m.
The Toffees have already lined up Lille’s Gabriel Magalhães as an immediate upgrade on their current options at centre-back, with the Brazilian expected to cost £25m, but Todibo’s arrival would act as part of the club’s wider long-term project.
The 20-year-old is one of the most exciting young defenders in Europe, but with just 22 senior appearances to his name so far in his career, Todibo is unsurprisingly still an extremely raw talent who is still adapting to playing at the highest level.
The Daily Mail’s report doesn’t mention how eager Barcelona would be to sell Todibo ahead of the new season, but having already built up a relationship with Everton thanks to recent deals for André Gomes, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina, Carlo Ancelotti’s side could be well placed to complete the transfer.