According to reports in Spain, Barcelona are considering selling Samuel Umtiti when the summer transfer window opens. It is understood the Catalan giants are willing to listen to offers for the French centre-back.
The former Lyon stopper has only just returned to full fitness after a lengthy spell out due to a knee injury although he was included in Didier Deschamps’ latest French squad ahead of team-mate Clement Lenglet and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte.
According to reports, Barcelona may let the star go despite paying Lyon £20.4million for him less than three years ago as the Catalans are considering a move for Ajax prodigy Matthijs de Ligt. The 19-year-old Dutch star has captained his club this season and was one of the standout performers when they dumped Real Madrid out of the Champions League.
And after already securing Frenkie de Jong’s services from next season, they will no doubt be keen to bring in his team-mate.
But with Gerard Pique, Lenglet, Jeison Murillo and Jean-Clair Todibo at the club as well as veteran Thomas Vermaelen, Barcelona may need to offload first and Umtiti may be the man sacrificed.
One club’s loss would be another’s gain and there would be no shortage of sides interested in the World Cup winner. Umtiti is understood to “like” both Manchester clubs and would be “interested” in a move. Both teams are in need of a new centre-back, with Manchester City forced to play the likes of Danilo and Fernandinho there in recent weeks, while United missed out on a number of targets last summer. And if he did head to Manchester, Umtiti would have no problems settling in.
At the Etihad, international team-mate Benjamin Mendy would make him feel welcome while fellow defenders Laporte and Eliaquim Mangala are also French. Across town at Old Trafford, meanwhile, are the duo of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. Manchester City could be hit by a transfer ban as per reports which could scupper their chances of landing the Frenchman and it would surely be a boost for their local rivals.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid star Griezmann has offered himself to a number of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Barcelona, but the Catalan club are not contemplating a move for the Atletico Madrid forward, sources have told ESPN FC.
Griezmann, 28, turned down the chance to join Barca last summer but has grown increasingly frustrated at Atletico this season. Sources close to the France forward have said he is prepared to take a salary reduction and revealed he was even looking for an exit prior to last week’s Champions League elimination against Juventus.
But various sources close to Barcelona have confirmed to ESPN FC that Griezmann is not the type of attacker the club are looking for as they seek a long-term replacement for the 32-year-old Luis Suarez. They favour a younger option. Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic and Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez have both been watched.
There would also be concerns about Griezmann’s wages, even though he’s prepared to take a cut. He earns €24 million at Atletico, an amount which Barca would not be prepared to match. Even if they were, it would require shifting several big earners off the wage bill.
Griezmann signed a new deal with Atletico last year, extending his stay at the club until 2023. The terms included an initial €200m release clause but that figure will drop to €120m this summer.
His desire to leave Atletico, first reported by L’Equipe on Saturday, comes just nine months after he snubbed Barca in the build-up to the World Cup. He made the announcement via a TV special which was produced by Gerard Pique’s company. The show — called “La Decision” — did not go down well with the hierarchy at Barcelona at the time. Some members of the board only learned of the decision on the day it aired on television.
The France international has since come to regret his decision following what he feels has been a disappointing season at Atletico.
The Rojiblancos‘ season has come off the rails this month. Diego Simeone’s side were knocked out of the Champions League by Juve and Saturday’s defeat to Athletic Bilbao could see them fall 10 points behind top spot in La Liga if Barca beat Real Betis on Sunday.