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Lionel Messi concern, Man Utd plotting swoop for €60m Barcelona teammate

If there is an area of the Barcelona squad that they can’t afford to see be weakened, it’s the defence. However, Lionel Messi has reportedly learned of some concerning news.

Samuel Umtiti joined the Catalan giants in 2016, and has since gone on to establish himself as a pivotal figure in the heart of the defence.

With Gerard Pique alongside him, they’ve conceded just 11 goals in 24 La Liga games so far this season, giving them the second best defensive record in the league behind only Atletico Madrid.

Coupled with a lack of quality behind them, with January signing Yerry Mina lacking experience and Thomas Vermaelen having a poor injury record, it’s undoubtedly crucial for Ernesto Valverde to retain Umtiti and Pique.

However, according to Diario Gol, as re-reported by The Express, Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has been pushing to sign Umtiti, and Messi has learned of his advances.

The French international has a €60m release clause in his contract, as per the report, and so he won’t go cheap. However, the 24-year-old is arguably worth more than that having improved significantly since moving to Spain.

Further, in today’s market, with players such as Aymeric Laporte joining Man City for a club-record fee of £57m, as per BBC Sport, it’s not going to be cheap to replace Umtiti if he were to leave, and so all the signs would suggest that Barcelona are better off doing their utmost to ensure that he doesn’t leave the Nou Camp.

Diario Gol add that Messi is under no doubt that Umtiti must remain at Barcelona such is his influence now, and so it will now seemingly depend on the hierarchy to ensure that happens.

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