Contact made: Serie A giants express interest in Barcelona ace but key issue touted

Napoli have reportedly made an enquiry over Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti as they search for a potential replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly.

Since joining the Catalan giants in 2016, Umtiti has been limited to 114 appearances for the club due to ongoing injury problems over the past two seasons.

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After featuring 83 times in his first two campaigns at the Nou Camp, he has managed just 31 in over a season-and-a-half since.

That’s largely been down to troublesome knee problems, and with that in mind, there would arguably be question marks over any potential move elsewhere due to those issues over reliability.

Nevertheless, according to Sport, Napoli have already contacted Barcelona to ask about Umtiti’s situation, as it’s suggested that they will be in the market for a defender this summer to try and fill the void left behind by Koulibaly if he seals an exit.

It’s noted that prior to the coronavirus crisis, Umtiti was valued at around €50m by the reigning La Liga champions. However, given the financial impact that the pandemic is likely to have on football, it’s hinted that they’ll have to lower those demands to find an agreement.

Further, it’s also suggested that Umtiti’s intention is to stay at Barcelona which will be a possible obstacle, as having started in six of the last eight league games with Quique Setien’s appointment as coach a key turning point for him, he may now feel as though he can still cement his place back in the starting XI moving forward.

In turn, while he would be a quality replacement for Koulibaly and given he’s left-footed he would easily slot into the void left behind at Napoli if he did leave this summer, there are seemingly still key issues surrounding his price-tag and his desire to stay in Spain.

Time will tell if Napoli will be forced to look elsewhere for a possible solution.

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