Barcelona is keen to offload several players in the summer transfer window but is reportedly struggling for buyers for Frenchman Samuel Umtiti and Brazil international Philippe Coutinho.
Umtiti has been “on the exit ramp for several years” but “his exorbitant salary” and deep fears about his ongoing knee injuries mean “hardly any offers” have been received, according to Sergi Capdevila at Diario Sport.
It’s a similar situation with Coutinho who has not played for Barcelona in 2021 due to injury. The 28-year-old picked up a knee injury that required surgery in January and again in April and remains sidelined.
Capdevila reports that selling Coutinho “will not be easy” and Barca will struggle to find a buyer for the club’s most expensive signing. Both Coutinho and Umtiti are contracted to Barcelona until 2023.
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What Next For Coutinho?
There’s no doubt that Coutinho has failed to live up to his huge price tag during his time at Barcelona. The Brazilian moved for a reported fee of $170 million from Liverpool in January 2018 but has failed to consistently find his best form at the Camp Nou.
Coutinho spent last season out on loan at Bayern Munich but returned to Barcelona and started the 2020-21 campaign brightly. However, injuries and the emergence of 18-year-old Pedri meant Coutinho only made 12 La Liga appearances.
The Brazilian’s season was ended prematurely by his knee surgery but he has hardly been missed. French side Marseille and coach Jorge Sampaoli have reportedly expressed an interest in Coutinho but may struggle to afford his wages, according to Marca.
A return to the Premier League looks more likely. Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, told Sky Sports in April 2020 the Brazilian would be happy to return to the English top flight.
“The Premier League is something that he has always enjoyed playing in, and loved playing in, and would probably love to come back and play in,” he said. “The question is what are going to be the financial conditions of all the clubs, including Barcelona and all the Premier League clubs at the end of this pandemic.”
Will Umtiti Leave Barcelona?
Umtiti is in a slightly different situation but has also slipped down the pecking order at the Camp Nou. The defender emerged as one of the top defenders in La Liga after his move to Barca from Lyon but injuries have taken their toll.
The defender has been told to look for an exit following the arrival of Eric Garcia on a free transfer, according to Diario Sport. However, the Frenchman’s gross salary of €12 million is a problem.
One potential destination could be former club Lyon if the defender is willing to take a pay cut. Umtiti spoke fondly about the Ligue 1 side 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.”
Barca has already brought in Garcia, Sergio Aguero, and Emerson Royal but the focus will now turn to trimming the squad, reducing the wage bill, and trying to raise some much-needed funds by offloading plays who have no future at the Camp Nou.