After Missing Out On Virgil Van Dijk, Can Samuel Umtiti Be The Man For Manchester City?
Manchester City were quite keen on stealing a January move on Liverpool target Virgil Van Dijk but after the Reds have signed the Dutchman for a record-breaking fee of £75million, Pep Guardiola will need to look elsewhere. Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti has also been linked with an exit from Camp Nou and if latest reports are to be believed, City are now targeting the £36m rated Umtiti as an alternative to the elusive Van Dijk.
Initially, it was understandable if clubs were a bit hesitant to target Umtiti since he has a €60 million release clause but after Liverpool made such a brave purchase in the form of Van Dijk, Guardiola might just be encouraged to go for the Barcelona defender.
Price tags have never truly been an issue for the cash-rich club and that was further illustrated when City splashed out £53million to sign Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur. It seemed like an expensive figure over the summer but now with Klopp’s recent purchase, the lines do seem blurred.
That said, Umtiti would be a worthy purchase if City were to indulge. He has gradually managed to establish himself as an indispensable member of the Barcelona squad and has truly been a strong figure at Camp Nou. Whenever he is available, Umtiti is a default choice for selection and Ernesto Valverde is understood to consider him as a crucial defender for the team. Although the player has to be sidelined until February, his previous performances are more than enough to convince Guardiola to make the move.
As far as Guardiola’s current options are concerned, there is a shortage of quality centre-backs to an extent. John Stones has been splendid but he recently succumbed to an injury and that created a lot of strain since Vincent Kompany is also suffering from an injury.
Nicolas Otamendi continues to be a formidable presence at the back but the manager does not have another option who can do as well as either Otamendi or Stones. It’s not a dire situation for City – not yet, at least – but it is better to be safe than sorry and Umtiti can prove to be a valuable addition to any team.
City have been linked to quite a number of central defenders but Umtiti seems like a player better suited for Guardiola’s team. Moreover, since City’s attackers are in such lethal form, the need for a strong defence is not too high.
However, one injury to any of their main attackers or a slump in form and the Sky Blues could find themselves in a worrisome situation with lack of depth at the back. Hence, given a choice, Guardiola must most definitely target Umtiti in January.