Barcelona are reportedly concerned over Samuel Umtiti’s future to the point that they’re targeting a replacement just in case he leaves.
The 24-year-old has been a fundamental figure at the back for the Catalan giants this season, making 33 appearances in all competitions and forming a solid partnership with Gerard Pique.
That in turn has led to Barca conceding just 13 goals in 29 La Liga games, giving them the best defensive record in the league, while it’s been a similar story in Europe too.
Coupled with the fact that Yerry Mina and Thomas Vermaelen don’t stand out as viable immediate or long-term options, losing Umtiti would be a major blow.
In an ideal world, they won’t want to lose the French international, but according to Sport, such is the concern at the Nou Camp that they’ve had to alter their plans and identify targets to fill the potential void left behind if he leaves.
It’s added that Man Utd are keen on the Frenchman, and with a €60m release clause, he will arguably be a very appealing transfer target for many other top clubs around Europe as in today’s transfer market, that is arguably a decent fee for a top player with such a long way to go in his career too.
Dayot Upamecano is specifically mentioned as an option in that report, with the 19-year-old impressing for RB Leipzig. However, he still has a lot of development left in his game to be considered an immediate fit for Barcelona, while it’s added he has a €100m release clause which would surely complicate matters.
However, a young star with the potential to improve is seemingly what Barca are in the market for, as Mundo Deportivo add that they’ve now scouted Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt on three separate occasions and so are evidently having a close look at him.
The 18-year-old featured in Ajax’s run to the Europa League final last season and impressed, but he has continued to establish himself with 33 appearances this year.
He’d arguably be better off staying with the Dutch giants for now to continue to play regularly and gain experience, but interest from Barcelona will likely be difficult to ignore.