Barcelona have reportedly stepped up their interest in France’s Samuel Umtiti following the sale of Marc Bartra to Borussia Dortmund, reports Mundo Deportivo.
Barca’s need to bring in a new centre-back has amplified and they have now decided to push ahead with a deal to sign Lyon’s Umtiti.
Barcelona are in the process of finalizing the signing of the Cameroon-born centre-back, who will sign a five-year contract at the Camp Nou.
The Olympique Lyonnais central defender still has a long way to go to be worthy of a first-team place in Luis Enrique’s side, but he has shown, in some aspects of his game, reason for the current champions of Europe, and the world, to be interested in tracking his progress.
That’s exactly what they have been doing, per Diario Sport, a newspaper based in the Catalan capital.
Sporting director Robert Fernandez attended the clash between Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain at the start of March, and sources close to the former said he was there to watch Umtiti. Like many clubs have done in recent weeks.
The Cameroonian by birth star has been building experience up at Lyon himself. He has played 163 times for the club, 140 of those at centre-back, 19 on the left, per Transfermarkt.
Umtiti who made his Champions League debut earlier this season, featuring four times in the group phase, twice against Zenit St Petersburg and once in games with Gent and Valencia has scored three times in 124 Ligue 1 appearances and once in 13 Europa League games.