Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti managed just one appearance for the Catalan giants last season after slipping down the pecking order at Camp Nou and looks destined to leave in the summer transfer window.
Ligue 1 side Rennes have emerged as a possible option for the centre-back, and manager Bruno Genesio addressed speculation his side could move for Umtiti at a press conference.
“I don’t want to talk about names, neither in this position nor in others. It’s not my domain, it’s Flo’s [sporting director Florian Maurice]. There are several player profiles that interest us in this position,” he said. “Sam is a player I know perfectly. I first had him in training at Lyon, then in the professional team. It definitely creates a bond. You all know his story, his qualities and the setbacks he he had last year. He remains a very, very high level player, and very high level players can interest us.
Rennes have opened Umtiti talks with Barcelona over a possible transfer as the French side seek a replacement for Nayef Aguerd who moved to West Ham United, as reported by L’Equipe.
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Barce negotiate loan deal
Barcelona would ideally prefer to sell Umtiti but might have to settle for a loan move, as Marca report. The club is discussing with Rennes an agreement for the defender but the negotiations are proving delicate.
Rennes don’t want to pay Umtiti’s full salary which means Barcelona may have to pay part of the defender’s salary if they want to agree a deal with the Ligue 1 outfit.
The two sides are “closer” to an agreement after weeks of talks. Umtiti signed a new deal at Barcelona in January which included a significant pay cut and runs until June 2026.
Umtiti will miss pre-season?
Barcelona’s pre-season is due to start on Monday, July 4, but Umtiti is one of several players expected to be out when the players return to the club after a summer break.
The centre-back has reportedly been told by coach Xavi that he doesn’t need to return and can spend the week trying to find a new club instead. Oscar Mingueza and Riqui Puig also received the same message.
Martin Braithwaite, who is not due to return until July 11 along with the other Barca internationals, is also not in Barca’s plans for next season and may also not be welcome in pre-season training. .
Substitute goalkeeper Neto has also been told by Xavi that he isn’t needed for the pre-season, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Brazilian has one year left on his current contract and ‘will try to find a team this week’.
Inaki Pena therefore seems set to be Marc-André ter Stegen’s assistant next season. The highly rated 23-year-old is a graduate of the club’s La Masia academy and is back at the club after a loan spell with Turkish side Galatasaray.
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