Schalke: Jean-Clair Todibo getting off on the right foot

Jean-Clair Todibo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Jean-Clair Todibo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Schalke’s defense has been a gold mine this year, and Jean-Clair Todibo looks to be just another sparkling nugget to add to the remarkable haul of the season.

Do we talk about Schalke‘s defense enough here at Release The Knappen? Probably. But there is always room for more. Because what team loses their two start centerbacks for the year and gets arguably better on the defense?

Your boys from Gelsenkirchen, that’s who.

With Benjamin Stambouli and Salif Sane out for the year, David Wagner had to go to options No. 3 and 4—Matija Nastasic and Ozan Kabak—to anchor this defense, and in return, we’ve discovered that these two are every bit the contemporaries of our first two choices. If anything, Kabak has proven himself to be exactly as billed—one of the best young defensive talents in the world.

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Not to be caught with their pants down, Schalke went out and brought in Jean-Clair Todibo on loan, just in case another injury should come to pass. Like Kabak, Todibo was billed as one of the best young defensive talents in the world.

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At the time of his signing, I was getting cocky. This defense was untouchable, Todibo is just another gem.

Only it looks like he is exactly that.

When Kabak took over, you could tell immediately that he was the man. That he was the answer to our defensive woes. His composure, his maturity, his ability to look like he’s been here before and can’t be frazzled.

Jean-Clair Todibo hasn’t had nearly enough time to prove his own capabilities, but he pulled a prime Kabak when he came on for an injured Kabak against Paderborn. With pressure mounting from an opposing attack, Todibo stepped in, took the ball as casually as you like, spun off another attacker and turned play up field. Just like that, I knew—we’ve got another gold nugget.

Small sample size, sure. But I have no worries going forward that Todibo can anchor this defense the same way that Kabak has, or Nastasic, or Sane, or Stambouli. In fact, I don’t even need to see him play anymore to know that we should purchase him. Kabak and Todibo for the next decade? Put it in my veins.

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Just so you now, I’m not exaggerating. I’m not being obnoxious. In 53 minutes, Todibo proved that he’s just another Kabak. Which you can never have too many of. Obviously.