Barcelona the best place for €60m Manchester United target Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti, Barcelona, 17/18
Getty Images
The France defender has a low release clause and is refusing to confirm he will stay at Camp Nou, but he can make himself a legend at the Catalan club

Adapting at centre-back can be extremely difficult at Barcelona. For a player to come in and operate in a high defensive line, be able to bring the ball out comfortably and learn the movements for the club's complex defensive strategy, often takes time. However, Samuel Umtiti slotted in seamlessly from day one.

The France defender was bought from Lyon in the summer of 2016 for €25 million, the only truly successful signing in that transfer window. His arrival marked the beginning of the end for a legend like Javier Mascherano at Camp Nou and he quickly made himself indispensable.

Such has been his impact that, in fact, that Barca have lost only one of the 47 Liga games they have played when he has been in the team – a 2-0 defeat away to Malaga in April last year.

That form, however, has not gone unnoticed and a number of Europe's elite clubs would be interested in signing the 24-year-old defender if he were to become available, with Manchester United leading the pack.

Goal 50 Revealed: The best 50 players in the world

Barca, though, are delighted with Umtiti and his partnership at the back with Gerard Pique. The Catalan club are keen to offer their player a new contract, but would do well to agree a fresh deal sooner rather than later because, at the moment, the defender's release clause stands at a dangerously low €60m.

"It's not a matter I am going to get into, nothing has begun from my side," Umtiti said a few days ago in an interview with Canal Plus. "Maybe there's interest [on Barca's side], but for the moment nothing has started.

"There's interest from other clubs, but I have many objectives to fulfil with Bara. In this world, everything goes so quickly. I'm happy and very proud to play for Barca."

And on his release clause, which now seems low after the market was inflated last summer by Neymar's €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain, he said: "It's not very big, everyone knows that. But it's not something that interests or worries me. I am focused on the pitch, that's what I enjoy. The rest will come."

Samuel Umtiti, Barcelona 17/18

Earlier, on another TV show in France, Telefoot, the defender was asked in a quickfire Q&A session whether he would move to the Premier League and responded with a joker, meaning he did not have to respond to the question.

Despite his fine form over the past two seasons, Umtiti came in for some criticism after making mistakes in Barcelona's 2-2 draw at Sevilla on Saturday and there is some concern at Camp Nou that the talk over his future could be a distraction on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde is remaining calm over Umtiti, who wants around €6m after tax to put pen to paper on a new deal. "I have not followed Umtiti’s statements," he said on Tuesday.

Umtiti stat

Article continues below

"What I understand, and I know, is that he is very happy here and we are very happy with him. We hope the contract negotiations will come to fruition and that he will be able to continue for many years here."

And that is surely the best solution for all concerned. Because as long as he is given the conditions to make him happy, nowhere else would Umtiti be better off than at Barca, where he has settled superbly and can go on to achieve legend status over the next few seasons.

Expect a new deal to be sorted soon.