Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti is reportedly set to be available for selection against Real Valladolid this weekend after three months out with a knee injury.
The Catalan giants return to La Liga action on Saturday night as they look to consolidate their six point lead at the top of the standings.
However, they’re now facing a crucial month in which the Champions League returns next week as they prepare for a trip to Lyon next Tuesday night, while they have the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Real Madrid on February 27.
If that wasn’t enough, the reigning Spanish champions then face their bitter rivals in the league just a few days later, and so coach Ernesto Valverde will be desperate to have as close to a full-strength squad available as possible.
With that in mind, he could be handed a huge boost this week as Mundo Deportivo report that Umtiti returned to training with the rest of the squad on Wednesday for the first time since November.
Not only that, but it’s suggested that he could get some playing time this weekend, which in turn will help him build on his match sharpness and fitness to feature against his former club Lyon next week.
Ultimately, Barcelona will need to be careful not to rush him back and risk seeing him suffer a fresh setback, as that’s the last thing that Valverde will need at such a crucial time of the campaign.
Nevertheless, having the French international back in defence for so many major games across all competitions will be a massive boost for Barcelona, and they’ll certainly hope that he can come through unscathed in training for the rest of this week and in Saturday’s game to return to the fold.