Several news sources have today claimed that FC Barcelona have reached a deal for Lyon Defender Samuel Umtiti. Further to initial reports published on this Blog on June 6, that Barcelona were closing in on their man, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has confirmed to French Media outlet RMC Sport that
“We anticipate the eventual departure of Umtiti. Samuel has an exclusive agreement for him to join Barcelona,”
“We made a promise that if he could play for the club of his heart, he would leave. It’s part of the commitment which we have made, as was done for Karim Benzema when he went to Real Madrid. Right now, Samuel is with Les Bleus and is focused on the Euros and the fact that he can play Sunday against Iceland. If the three parties agree, it is possible that he will leave us.”
Earlier on in the day Catalan news outlet Sport Claimed that Lyon had prepared for the departure of Umtiti by signing Cameroonian Nicolas N’Koulou from rivals Olympique Marseille.
Meanwhile French newspaper L’Equipe claimed that the fee agreed was around 30 million euros including variables and an announcement may be made as soon as Thursday.
It seems that Samuel Umtiti will be the first defensive signing of the off season in what is expected to be an unusually busy transfer season for the Blaugrana. There will be a clear thrust to strengthen the Barca backline that has seen Marc Bartra and Dani Alves depart for Borussia Dortmund and Juventus respectively with Douglas, Jeremy Mathieu, Adriano and Thomas Vermaelen all linked with exits as well.