Juventus are keen on a summer move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti amid the defender’s concerns over his game time in Catalonia.
The 24-year-old signed for Barca from Lyon in 2016, and after lifting the World Cup with France in the summer, he was expected to return to club duty and cement his status as one of the world’s best defenders.
Fortune had other plans for him, however, and a debilitating knee injury picked up in September would put him on the shelf until February, save for a brief return in November where he would exacerbate the issue.
Though he has had a clean injury record since featuring in the 4-2 victory over Sevilla on February 23rd, the burgeoning partnership between Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet has meant that Umtiti has been resigned to the bench recently; something Marca say has put his future up in the air.
The claim is that he is now far enough down the pecking order that Barca may consider his sale this summer, and Juventus are poised to take advantage, with sporting director Fabio Paratici keen on luring him to Turin as a replacement for the retiring Andrea Barzagli.
Adding further intrigue to the situation is the saga surrounding Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt. He has long been linked with a move to Barca, with AS reporting that Juventus could compete for the 19-year-old’s signature.
It is believed that he favours a move to La Liga alongside Frenkie de Jong, but if he does end up at one of Barca or Juve, it seems likely to have a big impact on Umtiti’s future.
It doesn’t seem likely that the Spanish champions would be determined to hold onto the France defender should De Ligt further strengthen their defensive resources, while if Juve landed the latter, a move for Umtiti would seem similarly redundant.
It’s certainly an interesting one to follow, and though we’re a long way from any resolution, it’s a story worth keeping an eye on throughout the remainder of the season.