Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has today moved to put an end to the mounting speculation in the Spanish media that he has reached a contract impasse with the Blaugrana.
Umtiti, a 24-year-old central defender, made the move to the Camp Nou from Lyon in the summer of 2016 for a fee of 25 million Euro.
The powerful stopper arrived in Catalonia with hefty expectations on his young shoulders, with Barca having long been on the lookout for a dependable central-defensive partner for Gerard Pique.
However, he was regularly singled out for criticism during his debut campaign with the club, as Luis Enrique’s men struggled defensively, particularly in Europe.
This season has seen Umtiti begin to prove just why he was so highly-regarded in France, though, with the Lyon youth product having strung together a number of absolutely dominant performances at the back for Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Umtiti proved a key factor in Barca conceding just four goals in their opening eleven La Liga fixtures to start the campaign, allowing the club to open up a massive lead over fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish top-flight.
The talented Blaugrana man has also established himself as a regular in Didier Deschamps’ French international setup, with Umtiti’s partnership alongside Raphael Varane looking like the base upon which Les Bleus’ sides will be built for the coming decade.
Unsurprisingly, Umtiti’s stellar form at the Camp Nou has led to inevitable links with a number of European football’s other giants, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea previously named as huge admirers.
A report from Sport last week claimed that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho had made personal contact with Umtiti regarding a move to Old Trafford, with the Portuguese tactician having informed Umtiti that the Red Devils are willing to offer him a 9 million Euro-per-season salary, the exact figure that the 16-time capped French international is rumoured to be seeking at the Camp Nou.
Reports in Spain have been mounting over recent weeks that Barca are not willing to offer Umtiti such a hefty wage packet as part of a new deal at the club, with negotiations between the parties labelled as ‘not going well’.
‘Nothing has started’
To this point, Umtiti himself has remained relatively quiet regarding his current state of mind in Catalunya, only resulting in the rumours surrounding a possible summer departure from the La Liga leaders gathering pace.
However, the French stopper today put an end to his silence, revealing in an interview with Canal+ that he has in fact not even begun negotiations with Barcelona over a contract extension, as well as insisting that he is ‘very happy’ with the club:
‘There is interest from several clubs but, I said it again, I have so many objectives to reach with Barcelona that for the moment the question does not arise.’
‘In this world, it goes very fast. But what I can say is that I am very happy.’
‘My future is a subject that I don’t want to talk about too much. I haven’t started anything yet. Maybe there is an interest from Barca [for an extension], but nothing has started.’