Barcelona are targeting Lyon's Samuel Umtiti according to their sporting director Robert Fernandez
Barcelona's Sporting Director, Robert Fernandez, has reportedly told Sport that the club are doing all they can to sign Lyon's centre-back Samuel Umtiti even though they are close to signing young defender Mauricio Lemos.
With Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves set to depart the club this summer, the Catalan club are expected to sigh multiple defensive players to make up the numbers and players with enough quality to challenge on all fronts.
Umtiti had another excellent season in the Ligue 1 this time around partaking in 38 matches across all competitions. Even though Paris Saint-Germain won the title by a massive margin, Lyon had a good season finishing the season in second and qualifying directly for next season's UEFA Champions League owing Samuel Umtiti a lot.
The Frenchman – who has been called up to the national squad for the UEFA European Championships – had some of the best statistics this season for a defender across all competitions. Putting in around 2.5 successful defensive interceptions per game for a defender is impressive. Having held the line increasingly well this season, Umtiti has attracted the interest of multiple European giants including multiple Premier League clubs with Bundesliga and La Liga giants also registering interest.
Barcelona are on the lookout for a proven defender with the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu set to leave the club this summer. That leaves Gerard Pique as the sole senior centre-back available to the squad who also witnessed the departure of Marc Bartra – who has since signed for Bundesliga giants, Borussia Dortmund.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are set to finalise the deal with UD Las Palmas to sign their highly rated Uruguayan defender Mauricio Lemos. The 20-year-old has long been linked with Luis Enrique's team and is likely to come in and replace the departed Bartra.
Lemos is seen as a defender for the future but their first few offers were reportedly rejected by UD Las Palmas who have since reached an agreement with the Catalan club. He's quick on his feet, and has the aerial ability to ensure Pique has a strong partner when needed.