Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti is unwilling to leave Camp Nou this summer and wants to fight for his place in the team, despite the Frenchman supposedly being offered to other clubs in the transfer window.
The 26-year-old was once an integral part of the Blaugrana defence, but a string of injuries over the past two years have seen his value diminish. He has subsequently lost his place in the first team to national compatriot Clement Lenglet.
Barça are looking to significantly reduce their wage bill in the coming weeks, and the Catalan giants believe the dispensable Umtiti is likely to command a hefty transfer fee. But the player is not so keen on the idea of leaving Spain.
According to Sport, the Barça centre-back is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Umtiti is determined to overcome his injuries woes and fight for his place in the starting lineup, as he is content with his current life in Catalonia.
In fact, the former Lyon defender has even begun a number of personal projects in Barcelona, believing that he would remain in Spain for the remainder of his career.
For Barça however, their aspirations of improving the club’s finances have left them in a tight spot, and cashing in on Umtiti is a priority for the board. The former Spanish champions would even consider sending the World Cup winner out on loan next season, if the receiving side would be prepared to pay the entirety of his wages.
The relationship between player and club has become strained over time due to his constant fitness struggles, and his latest knee injury was the final straw, after he went against the club’s medical advice.
La Blaugrana are also targeting Manchester City defender Eric Garcia as a possible replacement for the Frenchman, as well as retaining the services of Uruguayan youngster Ronald Araujo to complete their backline options.
This news comes as a blow to plenty of interested parties around Europe, and particularly in the Premier League. Everton and West Ham have both been linked with a move for Umtiti thus far, while the defender’s profile and experience will be tempting for many top tier sides – should he remain fit.