Everton have been linked with an audacious move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, as reported by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.
Umtiti joined Barcelona from Lyon in 2016. In his four seasons at the Camp Nou, he has made 116 appearances in all competitions, winning two league titles and two Copas del Rey.
However, a series of injuries, coupled with the form of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, have seen the 27-year-old fall down the pecking order, and he is still yet to feature under new manager Ronald Koeman.
And now Everton are reportedly ready to offer the Frenchman a way out, according to Mundo Deportivo. The article states that Umtiti is a big admirer of Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti, who has won three Champions Leagues throughout his illustrious managerial career.
Ancelotti’s men have made a mixed start to the 2020/21 season. They flew out of the traps, winning their opening seven games in all competitions. However, four defeats in their last five outings have put a dampener on things.
The Merseyside club’s frontline has been firing on all cylinders, scoring the fifth-most goals in the division so far. Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been particularly impressive, netting a league-high ten goals.
In contrast, the defence has been lacking. Everton have conceded on 17 occasions in the league this term – only newly-promoted duo Fulham and West Bromwich Albion have let in more.
While he hasn’t had an easy couple of years at the Camp Nou, Umtiti could be a useful addition to the Toffees. After all, we are just two years removed from his stellar performances at the heart of France’s World Cup winning side.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are looking to offload the Frenchman as he is one of the club’s highest earners, and are willing to accept approximately €12m for his services.
However, a recent injury crisis at the Catalan giants could put a spanner in the works.
Ronald Koeman’s side have been crippled by several injuries in the centre-back position. Veteran defender Gerard Pique has been ruled out long-term with a knee injury, while Ronald Araujo is also sidelined.
French defender Clement Lenglet went off early in the 4-0 victory against Osasuna with an ankle problem – of which the extent is still unknown. This has left youngster Oscar Mingueza as Koeman’s only natural centre-back.