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Reports: Manchester United to battle rivals City for €60m-rated Barcelona star

1.64K   //    29 Dec 2017, 19:43 IST

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
The derby rivals are set to battle it out for the player

Both Manchester United and Manchester City have expressed their interest in signing Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, according to Spanish media outlet Don Balon.

The French international has a €60m release clause in his contract with the La Liga side, which could be activated by either of the Manchester clubs.

In case you didn't know...

Umtiti joined Barcelona from Olympique Lyon for a fee of €25m in 2016. Since then the French international has been a regular in the Catalan club's starting lineup - both under former boss Luis Enrique and current manager Ernesto Valverde.

The 24-year-old is currently sidelined until February with a muscle injury and it has been a huge blow for Barcelona, who are left with Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen and an ageing Javier Mascherano as the only available centre-backs.

Heart of the matter

One of Umtiti's suitors Manchester City were hopeful of landing Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, but were beaten by Liverpool for the signing of the player. Manchester United, on the other hand, are on the lookout for a new centre back after their key defender Eric Bailly was sidelined with a long-term injury.

Losing the battle to sign van Dijk has forced Guardiola to look to his former club, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also joining the race to sign Umtiti.

If the two clubs are to buy the former Lyon defender, they have will have to activate the €60m release clause that is in the player's contract with Barcelona. The Blaugrana, who themselves are in the market for a new centre-back, have reportedly agreed terms with Colombian player Yerry Mina.

Video: Samuel Umtiti's highlights this season

Author's take

It is hard to see Ernesto Valverde agreeing to sell one of the most important players in his squad but Barcelona will be left with no options if any of the two clubs interested in the player decide to trigger his release clause - just as in the case of Neymar's record-breaking €222m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

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Budding football writer and Liverpool fan. Above all lover of the beautiful game!
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