Barcelona will make another attempt to haul centre-back Samuel Umtiti off their books in January after failing to sell him in the summer, reports claim.
The Frenchman was once highly rated at the Nou Camp but has failed to play a single minute of action for the club in any competition this season and started just six times in LaLiga last season.
Injuries have also halted his progress in Spain after his £21million move from Lyon back in 2016, and with Barca in the midst of a financial crisis, the club were desperate to cash in on him in the last transfer window.
Barca will try to sell Samuel Umtiti (L) in January after falling out of favour with Ronald Koeman
Their attempts were in vain, with Umtiti reportedly demanding to join a Champions League club and snubbing interest from Nice, Besiktas and Lazio – but Barcelona will step up their attempts to ‘press’ him into an exit in January, according to Sport.
Umtiti has always been ‘reluctant’ to leave the club and had even agreed a ‘truce’ with president Joan Laporta to give him once last chance to impress – but that opportunity has now ‘passed’, with the player now firmly out of their plans.
The club are now looking to take ‘drastic measures’ to convince Umtiti to find a new team despite his current contract running until 2023. Barca were willing to sell him at a low cost in the summer, the report adds, or even send him out on loan – but he was not interested in any project presented to him.
The French centre-back has not played a game since May and has been reluctant to depart
The club are desperate to cash in on him and could take drastic measures to force an exit
The France international – who has not featured for the club since May 22 – has been told by Koeman that he has no future at the club, Sport adds, and there is a feeling that Umtiti will reconsider and make an effort to speed up his exit in January.
The report also claims there is still some interest in the player and that Barcelona are planning to field him in some cup games to put him in the shop window and increase his match fitness levels and make him a more attractive proposition.
The possibility of terminating his contract was ‘put on the table’ in the summer, it says, and that could still happen if Barcelona have no luck in January. Koeman currently has many options ahead of Umtiti, including Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet.