While the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and other attacking stars will get most of the plaudits, Barcelona’s defence has been crucial this season.
The Catalan giants have conceded just 13 goals in 29 La Liga games to give them the best defensive record in the league, while it’s a similar story in their Copa del Rey and Champions League runs.
A key part of their backline has been Samuel Umtiti, as the Frenchman has established a strong partnership with Gerard Pique, albeit Barca coped well when he was injured earlier in the campaign too.
Nevertheless, with a lack of real depth in that department with Yerry Mina and Thomas Vermaelen acting as back-up, the last thing that Barcelona can afford is to lose Umtiti this summer.
According to Don Balon, as re-reported by The Express, that’s exactly what Ousmane Dembele has reportedly warned them of, as a €60m release clause could be met by either Man Utd or Juventus, who are both specifically mentioned in the report, with contract issues cited as being behind the uncertainty over Umtiti’s future at the Nou Camp.
The 20-year-old is said to be concerned about his compatriot, and believes that Barcelona are running a very real risk of seeing him leave this summer which would be a real setback for Ernesto Valverde.
While it’s true that Barcelona defend as a unit and don’t merely rely on individuals to bail them out at the back, the fact that Umtiti has emerged as a permanent fixture and crucial part of their backline tells its own story.
As a result, concern could be set to grow between now and the end of the season unless a new deal is reached, with Dembele unlikely to be the only player anxious about Umtiti’s future lying elsewhere.