According to the Daily Record, Manchester United have approached Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti over a summer move and are considering activating the Frenchman’s €60million release clause.
Umtiti has established himself as a key part of Barca’s plans this season, as they look set to wrestle the La Liga title back from bitter rivals Real Madrid and wants an improved salary that reflects that.
The report suggests that the Catalan giants are hesitating over offering a new deal on those terms and that Umtiti has been sounded out by United to glean whether he would be interested in a switch to Old Trafford in the summer.
Having splashed the cash on Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in recent months, Barca will also be wary of contravening Financial Fair Play and that could also play a part.
Umtiti, who is valued at £36m by transfermarkt.co.uk, is a similar player to Eric Bailly and the fact he is left-footed would allow him to build a balanced, physical and pacy defensive duo alongside the Ivorian.
He has matured a lot this season, in terms of his temperament and his decision making, forming a formidable partnership alongside Gerard Pique.
In that sense, he is ahead of Bailly in his development and his physical attributes would place him ahead of all United’s other central defensive options.
Chris Smalling may have found the back of the net last night against Crystal Palace but he put in another nervy performance to go with the one at Newcastle last month and the time has come for him to leave Old Trafford.
In truth, none of Jose Mourinho’s current options are indispensable and a player with a bright international future and experience of playing at another one of the world’s biggest clubs would be a definite upgrade.