What to do with Samuel Umtiti?
FC Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has recently lost his spot in the Barca starting eleven under Ernesto Valverde. For most of this season, the French World Cup winner has been sidelined due to a lingering knee injury that has kept him out for a total of twenty-eight games.
Now Umtiti faces a new challenge of winning back his starting spot as fellow frenchman Clement Lenglet has made the most of his playing time in Umtiti’s absence. Lenglet has embraced his new role with excellence. He seems more confident with the ball at his feet each game, and makes smart, tactical decisions with errors few and far between. Lenglet has also formed manufactured an exceptional relationship with Gerard Pique in Barca’s backline, recording eighteen clean-sheets since the start of the season. Barca would not be up by eight points in La Liga without the services of Lenglet.
But what about Umtiti? The Barca centre-back just recently returned from a long-term injury. However, it seems Umtiti has lost his confidence on the field. Ernesto Valverde selected Umtiti to start in Barca’s most recent game against Villareal, and it could not have gone worse for the frenchman. Right from the start, Umtiti seemed like a shell of his former self. He was constantly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and performed poorly when covering Villareal’s forwards. Ultimately, Umtiti and Barca’s back-line allowed four goals in the back of their on net, which is a terrible display for Barca’s standard. What’s worse is that the Umtiti-led defense let in four goals against to a team who is near the bottom of the table.
Now, rumors and reports have arised claiming that Samuel Umtiti will be on the move come summer. Some reports claim that with Clement Lenglet exceeding expectations and creating a defensive pillar in the Barca first team, Umtiti is “surplus” and should be offloaded to bring in a big cashflow. Umtiti’s market value is around $80 million, and the Barca board might be tempted to cash-in on the frenchman with Barca’s backline currently in good hands.