Barcelona have an issue in defence, and given all the speculation surrounding Samuel Umtiti’s future, it could become an even bigger problem.
As noted by Sport, the Catalan giants have become increasingly concerned with interest from Man Utd in the French international, and are said to be at risk of losing him given his €60m release clause and troubles over new contract negotiations.
Putting that aside though, even if Umtiti was to stay at the Nou Camp, Ernesto Valverde currently has a real issue with a lack of depth in the heart of his defence.
Beyond his first-choice pairing of Umtiti and Gerard Pique, he has Yerry Mina and Thomas Vermaelen in reserve. The former hasn’t yet convinced since his January move, while the latter is a veteran who has struggled with injury problems for most of his career.
In turn, for a giant like Barcelona who hope to compete for multiple trophies each season, that is an area for concern.
According to Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague, they are sounding out various options to address the issue, with Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet and Schalke defender Thilo Kehrer put forward as potential solutions, and they have €30m and €35m buy-out clauses respectively.
RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano is also mentioned, but as noted by Sport, he has a €100m release clause, so Barcelona are seemingly going to have to splash out if they want to sign one of these targets.
That comes back to the ideal scenario of keeping Umtiti happy. The 24-year-old has established himself as a key figure for both and country and has built a solid partnership with Pique. Given the figures it would take to find a suitable replacement, Barcelona would surely be better off reaching a compromise on a new deal and not losing him.