Wed. Oct 16th, 2019

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Samuel Umtiti Handed Barcelona Lifeline as Club Fear Defeat in Matthijs de Ligt Race

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​Barcelona have been forced to rethink their defensive options for the upcoming season, with Samuel Umtiti set to remain at the club amid fears they have missed out on signing Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt.

The Dutch defender had been one of Barcelona’s primary transfer targets for months, but Juventus are now thought to have ​moved ahead in the race for his signature, prompting the Blaugrana to come up with a new strategy.

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According to ​AS, the main beneficiary of their failure to sign De Ligt could be Umtiti, who now appears set to remain at Camp Nou this summer and play a key part in the upcoming season.

The Frenchman had previously been tipped to leave ​Barcelona this summer to raise funds for their pursuit of De Ligt, but he is now viewed as a vital part of the squad for the upcoming season. 

​Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are set to continue their partnership in defence, but Umtiti will be given the chance to prove himself as a backup option, as long as he can prove he has recovered from his long-term knee injury.

Samuel Umtiti

Umtiti had been heavily linked with a move to the likes of ​Arsenal and ​Manchester United, whilst it was also suggested that he could head to Paris Saint-Germain as part of any deal for ​Neymar.

19-year-old Jean-Clair Todibo now also stands to be involved in the team. He was facing the prospect of falling down the pecking order at Camp Nou or perhaps even leaving on loan but, with just four senior centre-backs in the squad, Todibo will likely see some game time next season.

Club officials had begun to lose patience with Todibo towards the end of last season, growing frustrated with his attitude, but they hope that a clear pathway to the first team will help him settle down and work to improve.

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