Barcelona desperate to offload World Cup winning defender

Samuel Umtiti of FC Bardcelona. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
Samuel Umtiti of FC Bardcelona. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images) /

Barcelona no longer trust in Samuel Umtiti.

A knee injury has sidelined Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti once again as he is likely out for the rest of the season and a doubt for the Champions League.

What also appears likely is that not only will he not feature in any of the club’s remaining competitions, but he may never play for Barcelona again.

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According to Sport, the Catalans will try to move Umtiti during the summer and while there are no offers at the moment, they will also consider a loan move.

Since the restart Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have played the majority of the games at center-back with youngster Ronald Araujo serving as third choice.

The constant knee injuries and the inconsistency in performance have hurt the Frenchman’s standing on the team. When Quique Setien first arrived, he seemed to prefer Umtiti but his inability to stay healthy quickly pushed his countryman, Lenglet, ahead of him.

Umtiti arrived from Lyon back in 2016 for €25 million. Considering the amount clubs were paying for center-backs at that time, it seemed like the club got a bargain.

Even more so when he quickly adapted to the system and formed a good partnership with Gerard Pique. It was the World Cup in 2018 with France that started the slide that he finds himself in today.

He played that tournament with an injury and France won it in the end which made it all worth it. But when he arrived back at Barcelona, it wasn’t the same. It was then when the knee injury kept flaring up, allowing him to string together only match or two before he had to miss time.

It came to the point where surgery had to become an option. In contrast to Barcelona, Umtiti opted for conservative treatments that in the beginning seemed to help but the same issues kept reoccurring. He’d play a game and then miss practice because of the knee.

With no improvement and another spell on the sideline, surgery might be the only option available. What makes matters more concerning is that according to Evening Standard, when Setien was asked to give an update, he said that not even the doctors know how long he will be out.

Barcelona plan to sign a center-back.

Another reason why the club are adamant on moving on is that one of their priorities come the offseason is to sign another defender.

They’ve identified that defender to be Manchester City’s Eric Garcia, a former La Masia player. They believe they can entice him to return to his former club but know that City are also going to try to get him to stay as Pep Guardiola is a big supporter of Garcia.

While Umtiti does not want to leave, he might not have a choice because if they do manage to sign Garcia, he’d become fifth choice at center-back.

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If and when he does leave, it’ll be a sad end to a very promising start. After years of trying to find a suitable center-back, Barcelona thought they hit the jackpot with Umtiti especially after his first season. Unfortunately, two stellar seasons is how long his Barça career is going to last before it went downhill.