It’s only the start of June but Barcelona may have wrapped up their best bit of summer business by securing Samuel Umtiti’s future.
The defender has inked a new five-year deal at the Camp Nou, netted himself a pay rise and also has a shiny new €500m release clause to boot. A nice bit of business all round really.
Umtiti has become absolutely crucial to Barcelona, and there was a real fear he could leave earlier in the season when Manchester United were said to be sniffing around his previous €60m release clause.
His partnership with Gerard Pique, in front of the wall that is Marc-Andre ter Stegen, gives Barcelona a really solid foundation that is significantly weakened when Umtiti is not around.
The statistics only highlight how vital a player Umtiti has become for the Catalan giants.
Samuel Umtiti has signed a new deal with Barcelona -- The La Liga side have lost only 1 of the 48 league games he has started since his arrival in 2016 (vs Malaga in April 2017)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 3, 2018
Read the full story -- https://t.co/Hs0e007JJo pic.twitter.com/npbtJH4jlj
The Frenchman did have a little wobble towards the end of the season which was all the more eye-catching because it was so unusual. It also occurred at the same time as speculation was swirling over his future suggesting Umtiti was distracted by the off-field rumors.
He also said all the right words when signing his new Barcelona deal.
“Barca is my home,” he said.
“The priority for me was to renew at this club because for me, this is the best club in the world, with the best players and the best for me to continue to grow.
“I cannot see myself playing for any other team.”
Source | FC Barcelona
Keeping hold of Umtiti is also vitally important with a lack of top-class centre-backs around at the moment. Moves for Clement Lenglet and Matthijs de Ligt have been mooted, but neither are as strong as Umtiti who is still only 24. Lenglet may still arrive but only as back-up to Umtiti and Gerard Pique.
Barcelona also have Yerry Mina and Thomas Vermaelen of course. However, Mina still needs time to adjust after his January move and Vermaelen’s injury record is an issue.
In the meantime the rumor mill continues to churn out players who could arrive at the Camp Nou this summer. Antoine Griezmann, Christian Eriksen, Miralem Pjanic, Thiago, Frenkie De Jon, Lenglet and De Ligt have all been mentioned plenty of times.
Last season highlighted the fact that Barca need to strengthen the squad this summer, but whoever they bring in will have to make some contribution if they are to match Umtiti’s importance to Barcelona.