Benfica are reportedly keen on signing Samuel Umtiti on loan from Barcelona in the January transfer window.

According to Portuguese journalist Pedro Almeida, Samuel Umtiti is the subject of interest from Benfica over a loan move in the January transfer window. The Portuguese giants could hold talks with Barcelona over the prospect of sealing a temporary move when the two teams meet in the UEFA Champions League later this month.

Samuel Umtiti joined Barcelona from Lyon in the summer of 2016 and made an instant impression at Camp Nou, creating hopes of possibly being the long-term successor to Carles Puyol. However, after a strong start to life at the Catalan club, the Frenchman has suffered a staggering dip in his fortunes.

A spate of injuries has hampered his progress enormously, and Umtiti is a mere emergency option for Barcelona at present. The 27-year-old is yet to make a single appearance for Barcelona this term and is deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou. Now, Benfica are set to offer Umtiti an escape route out of his struggles with the Blaugrana.

The Portuguese giants have been forced into the transfer market for a centre-back. That is because key defender Lucas Verissimo is sidelined for the remainder of the season after picking up a long-term knee injury last Sunday.

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The Brazilian defender suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and will undergo surgery before the long road to recovery begins for him. As a result, Benfica will have to dip their toes in the transfer market in January, with Barcelona outcast Samuel Umtiti emerging as a target.

However, snapping up the 27-year-old this winter might not be a straightforward task for Benfica, as he has recently asserted that he is determined to succeed at Barcelona. Nevertheless, the Portuguese giants are likely to make their initial proposal for a loan move later this month, when they meet Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona are unlikely to be hesitant in dealing with Benfica, as a solid spell in Lisbon could help them fetch a handy sum from Umtiti’s sale next summer. So, it remains to be seen if the French defender makes his way to Estadio da Luz on loan in January or if he stays put at Camp Nou instead.

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