A certain out-of-favour defender could head out the Camp Nou exit door come season end
Could Samuel Umtiti be on his way out of Barcelona? Surely not, considering the Frenchman’s record and how he had been playing for the Spanish giants prior to injury? However, as per many reports doing the rounds, there are a lot of factors and circumstances that could see it happen. One of them being that countryman Clement Lenglet has been outstanding this season. He has made sure to grab hold of any brass rings thrown his way with both hands and feet, and his displays have ensured that he is arguably keeping Umtiti out of the starting picture.
Lenglet has seemed not to be fazed by the level of competition, and has deservedly exceeded all expectations and forced his way into the side. Umtiti, meanwhile, has not helped himself by continuously adopting a holistic approach to his knee injury, even apparently going against the explicit wishes of the club’s medical team.
That is not normally an issue to begin with, but is approach to getting the knee healed led to Umtiti being out of commission longer than expected, and despite some great performances prior to the injury, he was not assured of a starting berth on his return. This also meant that doubts about the player have seeped into the minds of the club’s technical team, which could have implications.
And now, the reported interest from Camp Nou in Matthijs de Ligt has been the newest obstacle for the 25-year-old. Reportedly, both player and club are genuinely keen to get a deal done soon, and one can see why Barca would want to secure the services of such a prodigious youngster. The Ajax starlet, at 19, is still very young, and it would make more sense for La Blaugrana to bring him in in a year or 18 months, but when such a prodigious talent makes himself available and willing to join, then it would be foolish not to go all in.
De Ligt’s style of play is tailormade for the Spanish champs, thanks to his similar schooling at Ajax, and he has already proven that he what it takes to overcome any challenge head on, but whether he plays immediately upon signing or is gently eased in depends on manager Ernesto Valverde. The other issue is money, with the Dutchman surely not someone who will come on the cheap, and salaries at the club are already at tipping point.
It becomes clear that someone has to go for De Ligt to come in, and with Barca not exactly missing Umtiti or using him that often recently, they can afford to sell him for a big fee and use that mney to fund their Dutch pursuit. He has also not shot down the possibility of playing in the Premier League, which has meant that the likes of Manchester United have remained interested in his signing. The case for moving him on has been made, so it is up to the player to either put his foot down and win his starting berth at Camp Nou back with fighting performances when called upon or decide to pursue pastures anew and restart his career.