OGC Nice are reportedly interested in securing the services of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti in the January transfer window.

As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Samuel Umtiti has emerged as a target for OGC Nice over a move in the January transfer window. The Ligue 1 club are viewing the Barcelona outcast as one of the options to reinforce their defence, having been forced into the market by Dante’s injury.

Umtiti joined Barcelona from boyhood club Lyon in the summer of 2016 and was quick to make an impression at Camp Nou. The Frenchman did not take long to become a mainstay at the back for the Catalan giants, enjoying a solid debut campaign at the club. However, since then, it has been a downhill ride for the 27-year-old.

A spate of knee injuries have meant that Umtiti has gradually become a bit-part player at Camp Nou, having been sidelined for large parts of the last few seasons. In fact, since the start of the 2018/19 season, the player has managed to start just 28 of the 134 games that Barcelona have played in that period, and none so far this term.

Set for a return to Ligue 1? (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

Set for a return to Ligue 1? (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

With injuries curtailing his participation this season as well, Umtiti has been reduced to being a peripheral figure for Barcelona. The advent of Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza has only made matters for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner and there have been suggestions that Barcelona are ready to cut their losses on him. And, OGC Nice are ready to pounce.

The interest from Nice has arisen due to Dante’s season ending knee injury. As a result, the French outfit are keen to enter the market for an immediate solution to their defensive issues, making the pursuit of Umtiti somewhat perplexing, considering his own fitness woes in recent years.

Apart from Umtiti, Arsenal outcast William Saliba has also been named as a target, but the report suggests that Nice are ready to offer the Barcelona defender the required minutes to get back to his best. What is not made clear, though, is the nature of the transfer and it will be interesting to see whether Nice do approach Barcelona for the 27-year-old.

Meanwhile, it has previously been reported that Umtiti is committed to Barcelona, but if the Blaugrana are ready to part ways with him, the defender’s fate might be sealed. What now remains to be seen is if Barcelona do receive an offer from Nice over a possible January move.

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