TRANSFER

Sigh of relief for French star after agreeing to join Lecce on loan

French defender Samuel Umtiti has finally secured a move to Lecce from Barcelona

Samuel Yves Umtiti (R) of FC Barcelona, Barca team in action during the match between FC Barcelona and the A-League All Stars at Accor Stadium. Sydney Olympic Park Australia on May 26, 2022

Samuel Umtiti played a key role in 2018 when France lifted the World Cup and he was labeled as one of the best defenders at that time. Things were never the same after the World Cup and he fell down the pecking order at Barcelona after underperforming due to injury issues.

Umtiti has been a burden to Barcelona given that he is usually benched and his €20 million per year gross salary. He is tied to Barcelona until 2025 and his move to Lecce is for the whole of this season only which means that he will be back at the end of this campaign.

Chances of Umtiti featuring in this year’s Qatar World Cup are low but his goal against Belgium in 2018 will never be forgotten as it helped France sail through to the finals.

Lecce is currently at number nineteen in the Serie A after losing its first two opening matches of the season to Sassuolo and Inter Milan. The acquisition of Umtiti can only mean that they want to strengthen the team at the back before things get from bad to worse.

Umtiti has had 91 official appearances for Barcelona in six years compared to 131 appearances for Lyon during his four years at the club. These statics can only prove he had built his reputation before joining Barcelona and his move was more of an upgrade at a time when Barcelona were giants with the likes of Messi and Iniesta on the team.

Umtiti has not been in Xavi’s plans for this season and he even asked him to look for another club before the end of this summer transfer period. The news didn’t shock many as his fellow centre-back, Clement Lenglet, had also been shown the exit door.

Lecce have already scheduled the medical tests for Umtiti and he will fly to Italy this week to complete his move. It has been a while since he participated in a competitive match and this move will actually grant him the opportunity to play in big matches while at Lecce.

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