Why Samuel Umtiti could be the man to end Man City’s defensive woes
After Pep Guardiola’s comments that Manchester City will not be doing transfer business in January, The Athletic (h/t Manchester Evening News) has confirmed that City are actively looking for a central defender.
The report suggests that Barcelona outcast Samuel Umtiti has become a target for City in a potential January transfer in order to end their defensive crisis.
Umtiti came through French outfit Lyon’s youth ranks and his solid performances earned him a move to La Liga with Barcelona in 2016. He quickly became the first-choice to partner Gerard Pique in the heart of the defence and established himself at Barcelona.
After a terrific start to his career in Spain, Umtiti became a victim of injuries. Last season, he missed 18 games between November and February due to a knee injury. This season too, he has struggled with his fitness, thus putting him down the pecking order in Ernesto Valverde’s squad.
Clement Lenglet has been given the nod ahead of Umtiti this season despite the latter’s return from injury and now, he seems to be an outcast.
With this in mind, City must go after their target in January so see that they enter the new year with a proper and fit centre-back, who has already delivered at a higher level.
Pep Guardiola’s men have failed on many occasions in this Premier League season and the root cause for this has been the imbalance in their back-line. Aymeric Laporte’s injury has added to their misery of not signing a replacement for Vincent Kompany in the summer.
In this case, Samuel Umtiti would be the best choice for Guardiola if City are to make amends with their defensive unit and see that they bring results to match their standards.
The 26-year-old has been an immovable object when at the top of his game, which he displayed for the La Liga giants in his initial years with the club. If he decides to make a move in search of game time, Manchester City would be a good option.
According to Whoscored, in the 2017/18 season, Umtiti had registered 2 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 2.8 clearances per game, which was his best in Barcelona colours. Since then, injuries have been a stumbling block in his progression and thus, Valverde had given him very few chances.
At Etihad, his record can improve if he is provided with enough game time, which is more likely to happen with the problems City are facing. He can form a good partnership with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.
The Frenchman possesses all the qualities of a modern-day defender. His physicality can prove to be a difference in the Premier League and it would be only a matter of time before Umtiti adapts himself to the conditions in England.
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With an experience of over 100 games for Barcelona, Umtiti’s addition to Pep Guardiola’s squad might prove to be the key to their game. Manchester City have been powerful up front and their defence would get some assistance with Umtiti’s presence.
Therefore, Pep Guardiola must go all out for Umtiti in the January transfer window. This would help them in conceding less and they can confidently challenge for different titles.