Manchester United have reportedly reignited their interest in Barcelona superstar Samuel Umtiti, as they seek central defensive reinforcements.
According to Spanish media house Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United have turned their attention back towards French centre-back Samuel Umtiti to resolve their defensive obstacles. The 2018 World Cup winner though, is not seen as a player Barcelona want to offload this summer.
Manchester United conceded 54 goals in the English Premier League this past season – their worst tally ever in a single Premier League campaign. United have lacked a solid centre-back partnership and that has been evident through their performances in recent seasons.
Victor Lindelof has slowly started to make himself home at Old Trafford. However, Manchester United desperately need to bring in another quality central defender to help complement the Swede’s performances.
Samuel Umtiti has been on Manchester United’s radar for quite some time now. The 25-year-old had a pretty ordinary season and also struggled with quite a few injuries. And, while he fell out of favour with manager Esterno Valverde who sees Umtiti’s fellow countryman Clement Lenglet as a more reliable option to partner Gerard Pique.
The French defender has been widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world for a while and has been very consistent for his national team as well. He could be the perfect player for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s system as he is comfortable on the ball and also has a strong passing range.
With Barcelona keen on signing teenage sensation Matthijs de Ligt, Umtiti might, in theory, be surplus to requirements at Camp Nou. Arsenal also reportedly have eyes on the French defender and are closely monitoring the situation.
Manchester United have have reportedly already withdrawn their interest in their primary summer target Harry Maguire due to Leicester City’s asking sum of £100 million. Umtiti is thus, a viable target for United to pursue now.
Barcelona though, are not prepared to part ways with the 25-year-old just yet and their reluctance could force Manchester United to set their sights elsewhere again. It now remains to be seen if the Premier League giants can land Umtiti anyway, or if their pursuit of a centre-back takes them to another centre-back.