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Samuel Umtiti should not be turfed out by Barcelona

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The central defender must not be sold

RC Celta de Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Not so long ago Samuel Umtiti arrived from Lyon for what is now looking like a ridiculously low price of €25 million.

The French World Cup winner has more than paid back his fee with some super displays at the heart of Barca’s defence, and only lost his place because of niggling injury problems.

He remains a colossus of a central defender and one of the best in the world in my opinion.

Still only 25 with arguably his best years ahead of him, it makes no sense for Barca to sell a top class talent that is approaching his prime.

What will it achieve other than making a direct opponent either domestically or in Europe that much stronger?

Clearly, money needs to be saved by the board, whether or not Antoine Griezmann, Matthijs de Ligt and Neymar eventually arrive.

But that’s not Umtiti’s fault.

A scattergun transfer policy would appear to be to blame, and Barca are going about things haphazardly again this summer.

Thomas Vermaelen is history, leaving only Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet to battle it out with Umtiti for a starting berth.

On that basis, how in God’s name can the club even be considering parting with the big Frenchman?!

It’s true that he’s lost a yard of pace, and was woefully exposed against Villarreal at the back end of last season, but after any extended period of downtime, that’s natural for any player.

The fact that he hasn’t sought surgical treatment to rid himself of his knee problem shouldn’t keep being used as a stick to beat him with either.

He’s a player that has the respect of his colleagues and technical staff, and they in turn should respect his decision to seek a more holistic way of dealing with the issue.

A model professional, Umtiti has never really given the club cause to think he is doing things any other way than by the book. Just not their book in this instance.

There are legitimate arguments to be made for Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic to be sold this summer, but Ousmane Dembele and Umtiti have to be kept at all costs.

The latter would have to win his place back again from Lenglet of course, but isn’t competition for places what every coach professes to be the ideal scenario.

Umtiti has made his desire crystal clear - that he has no intention to move on.

Any switch would be solely at the club’s behest and you’d have to question the motives if they do follow through and ease him out the door.