Barcelona is reportedly “desperate” to sell Samuel Umtiti this summer and has told the defender he must leave even though the Frenchman is contracted to the club until 2023 and wants to stay.
The center-back has struggled with knee injuries since helping France win the 2018 World Cup which has seen him slip down the pecking order at the Camp Nou and struggle for form and fitness.
Umtiti is also one of Barcelona’s highest earners and the club “has made it clear” to the 27-year-old “that he will no longer continue” with the Catalan giants, according to M. Carmen Torres at Marca.
Barcelona view Umtiti as an “unnecessary luxury” and insist he must look for a new club no matter how keen he is to stay. The Catalans have already brought in Eric Garcia as part of a plan to “restructure and rejuvenate” the defense. The club also wants to sell Umtiti and Clement Lenglet and will adapt Gerard Pique’s contract.
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Umtiti Heading Back To Lyon?
Umtiti was widely regarded as one of Europe’s best central defenders after his move from Lyon to Barcelona but injuries have taken their toll and may mean the Catalans struggle to find a buyer.
One possible destination is former club Lyon, according to Torres. Barca is hoping Umtiti could be sold for a fee in the region of €5-10 million and has ruled out the possibility of leaving for a nominal fee.
Umtiti has spoken about the possibility of returning to Lyon in an interview with Canal Football Club in October 2020, as per El Desmarque.
“Lyon are my team, it is my city. It is the team that has given me the opportunity to play in Europe, at Barcelona and with the French national team,” he said. “There are conversations going back to the market, but there has not been anything concrete with the club. I have an expensive price, but I do not want to be seen as a victim.”
Umtiti Works Out Over Summer
It remains to be seen what will happen with Umtiti, but the defender has been keeping in shape during the off-season. The 27-year-old has posted an update on Instagram showing how he’s been working hard in the gym.
Umtiti may not be keen to leave Barcelona but endured another frustrating season in 2020-21, making just six La Liga starts under Ronald Koeman. The arrival of Garcia and emergence of Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza means there looks to be little future for him at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona is also reportedly keen to bring in another experienced center-back to try and bolster the backline. Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte is keen on a move, after losing his place in the team, and is “pressing” his team to make a transfer happen, according to Albert Masnou at Diario Sport.
Laporte has already been told by Manchester City he can leave if an acceptable offer arrives, according to Sam Lee at The Athletic. The defender is also said to be keen on a return to La Liga after three seasons in the Premier League.