Samuel Umtiti wants to prove his worth to Barcelona, but is nonetheless open to leaving the club on loan if he continues to be left out in the cold.
For the third year in a row, Barcelona have told Umtiti that they would like to get rid of him this summer and have even gone as far as to tell the centre-back that he can leave on a free transfer in the hope that he can find a buyer.
The problem, just as it has been for the past three seasons, is that Umtiti does not want to leave Barcelona. He is more than happy with life at Camp Nou and still dreams of being a regular starter for the club – something injuries have prevented in recent years.
After playing through injury at the 2018 World Cup, Umtiti has been limited to featuring just 49 times in all competitions across the last three campaigns for Barcelona. He started just six times in La Liga in 2020/21.
According to Marca, Umtiti has maintained that stance now and has told Barcelona in no uncertain terms that he will be fulfilling the remainder of his contract, which still has two years left to run.
While he accepts he is low down in the pecking order, Umtiti hopes to get the chance to prove himself in the early weeks of the season, when Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman may have no choice but to play him.
Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza are expected to be either rested or unavailable for the opening weeks of the season because of international commitments, leaving Koeman with just Umtiti and Gerard Pique as options.
Umtiti hopes to use that time to impress Koeman, but if he sees that he is not going to play over the remainder of the season, he is prepared to leave on loan to try and prove himself elsewhere.
The 27-year-old still believes he has a future at the club but accepts that he needs time to prove that. If he is not going to get regular minutes at Camp Nou, he hopes to showcase his skills on loan elsewhere to earn himself a spot in the squad upon his return.
For Barcelona, that’s better than nothing (assuming a loan buyer would pay his wages), but the Spanish side are still trying to convince him to leave for free this summer.
Umtiti has received tentative interest from Lyon and Marseille, both of whom have made it clear to Barcelona they would be interested in signing the Frenchman if he is allowed to walk away without a transfer fee.
However, convincing Umtiti to go down that route has been an impossible task thus far and one which might not be possible at all.
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