Samuel Umtiti is reportedly ready to leave Barcelona on loan in the January transfer window and could join Newcastle United temporarily.

According to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Samuel Umtiti might finally be ready to leave Barcelona, albeit on a loan move in the ongoing transfer window. The French defender is a target for Newcastle United, with the Blaugrana keen on sending him out this month.

Samuel Umtiti joined Barcelona from Lyon in July 2016 in what was seen as a brilliant signing by the Blaugrana. The French international seemed to be proving that in his first two seasons at Camp Nou. He had been establishing himself as a mainstay at the back for club and country while being widely regarded as one of the most consistent defenders in Europe, before a spate of injuries curtailed his progress completely.

The 28-year-old has gone from being a pivotal figure for Barcelona to a bit-part player in the last few years. Umtiti has reached his lowest ebb this season, as he has garnered only 90 minutes of game-time in one appearance. But, in a surprising move, Barcelona chose to hand him a long-term deal that will expire in 2026.

Only upon a closer look has it become clear that the terms of the contract stipulate that Umtiti will essentially earn the same wages as his original deal. But instead of pocketing them till 2023, the salary will be spread across the duration of his new agreement. Barcelona will still prefer loaning him out this month, with Newcastle United a likely destination.

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The Magpies were recently offered the chance to sign the out-of-favour Barcelona defender, and they intend to sign him before the January transfer window shuts down. Signing a centre-back in the ongoing transfer window is imperative for Newcastle United if they wish to stave off the threat of relegation come May.

The Tyneside club is currently languishing in the drop zone, having conceded the second-highest number of goals thus far in the Premier League. According to widespread reports, Newcastle’s priority is to sign two centre-backs this month, with Felix Uduokhai emerging as their latest target.

But with Umtiti ready to leave Barcelona on loan, one of Newcastle’s January signing could be the French defender. The fact that the 28-year-old will arrive on a temporary deal means that he is a relatively risk-free acquisition for Newcastle, who can make a decision regarding signing him permanently depending on what transpires in the second half of the season.

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