?Premier League trio Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are all interested in World Cup-winning centre back Samuel Umtiti. However, the defender himself is keen to re-establish himself at Barcelona as he continues his return from injury.
Knee issues have been the bane of Umtiti’s career in the last few years, with the 26-year-old playing just 20 times for Barça in all competitions since lifting the World Cup with France 18 months ago.
As a result of his fitness struggles, Umtiti has fallen behind Clement Lenglet in the pecking order at Camp Nou.
L’Equipe (via Catalan publication ?SPORT) say that ?Chelsea, ?City and ?United are all interested in giving Umtiti a way out of ?Barcelona. Yet the player himself, whose contract runs until 2023, is keen to stay and become a key player for the club once again.
During the summer, Umtiti – who has now played 90 minutes four times this season – was linked with a host of clubs including Arsenal as Barça looked to reduce their wage bill, but the speculation came to nothing.
In September, Umtiti then reaffirmed that his childhood ‘dream’ was to play for Barcelona and he is not interested in hearing offers.
He revealed: “Overnight, I received messages from my friends ‘ah, so you are joining Arsenal?’ I’m not, I’m sorry but I’m staying at Barcelona.
“To be honest, I don’t know if they [Arsenal] had conversations with my agent, I just told him that I didn’t care what was happening this summer and that it wasn’t even necessary to talk to me about it.
“It was useless, I was going to have the same answer. My dream as a child is to play for Barcelona. Last season was the most difficult of my career, especially in terms of injuries.”
?Chelsea have been successful in reducing their transfer ban, allowing them to recruit again in January, while defenders may be on the agenda for Frank Lampard’s side. The likes of youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Reece James have impressed so far in 2019/20, but Chelsea have still conceded more than any other team in the Premier League top seven this season (21).
Manchester United spent heavily on defence this summer and, while a move for a player of Umtit’s experience could be shrewd, the club appear to be focussed on looking for attacking options, who are also young and British.
City, who have struggled defensively this season due to Aymeric Laporte’s injury and the departure of Vincent Kompany, may be the most likely to move for Umtiti. However, the player’s own comments suggest a mid-season transfer remains unlikely unless he is forced out of the club to make way for new arrivals.