5 potential replacements for Samuel Umtiti if he leaves Barcelona
Samuel Umtiti has been one of the best defenders in Europe this season and has alongside Gerard Pique, formed a centre-back pairing that has seen the Blaugrana lose just once all season.
Given how well the French international has performed since his £25 million move from Olympique Lyon two seasons ago, Cules will have been alarmed about the barrage of reports about stalled contract renewal negotiations between the player's agent & the club's board.
With Umiti's buyout clause said to be a rather miserly €60m, the vultures have become to circle and it has been reported that Manchester United are ready to activate his buyout clause and treble his wages.
The Barca board will not want a repeat of the Neymar saga where they had to scramble for replacements and overpaid for both Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho.
Here is a list of 5 potential replacements that the club might take a look at:
#5 Yeray Álvarez (Athletic Bilbao)
One of the most highly thought-of centre-backs in Spanish football, the Basque player would be an ideal replacement if Umtiti leaves.
The 23-year-old's development has been held back by two unfortunate bouts of testicular cancer but has overcome this illness and is slowly on his way back to becoming the defender that fans of Los Leones (The Lions as Athletic Bilbao is called by its fans) and pundits have been whispering.
Many have been impressed by Yeray’s composure, positioning, and effective distribution and for a Spanish defender, his aggression in the tackle.
It is unclear what his buyout clause is as he has a contract at San Mames till 2022 and given his family and personal ties to the club especially when seen from the angle of how they stood by him during his illness/treatments, it is doubtful if he can be persuaded to make the move from the Basque country to Catalunya.
Barca would be remiss not to try though as he is a quality defender who already knows the league and understands the system that Barca manager; Valverde like to play.