Barcelona want ex-Valencia target as replacement for Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti has spent too much time on the Barcelona treatment table

Since he left Lyon to join Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti has missed a total of 57 games due to a variety of injuries, most recently a knee injury. Unfortunately, that is not good enough. As a result, the club has started looking at a replacement.

The first man on the shortlist is former Valencia target Rodrigo Caio. The 26-year old versatile Brazilian defender almost joined Los Che, but the €12 million move fell through when Caio overturned his decision due to fitness concerns.

But since then, Caio has not had any significant injury issues. In fact, the Flamengo centre-back has emerged as one of the biggest stars of the Brazilian Série A. He has been one of Flamengo’s consistent players in the 2019 season.

Caio has made 29 appearances in all competitions, scoring 4 goals. He has proven himself to be reliable on the ball, with a 90% passing accuracy. The Brazil international is aerially dominant, making it another desirable trait for Barça.

He has had disciplinary issues in the past, having picked up 36 yellow cards and 2 red cards over the course of his career. But it only proves that Caio has the ability to play it rough when required, and is unafraid to get booked for the team.

Rodrigo Caio has attracted interest from Europe again, 4 years after his big move failed. Leicester City are in contention, but Barça are the clear frontrunners. When he becomes available after the Copa Libertadores final, Barça will have the opportunity to bring him in.

But Caio will cost much more than €12 million now, although he is no longer a ‘hot prospect’. Flamengo will be demanding as much as €30 million for his services. But considering the alternatives, Barça could go for Caio.

Caio would be a very useful asset as a squad player. Apart from centre-back, Caio can play further up in a holding role. He can also fill in at right-back when required, possessing the requisite skill-set to pull off both roles with ease.

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Caio’s signing would effectively mean the end of Umtiti’s Barça career, which has only gone downhill since he won the World Cup with France in 2018. But the 25-year old French centre-back is a high-profile player, and Barça will be able to rake in huge profits with his sale.

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