Montella tips Lenglet to play for Barcelona
Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella is convinced Barcelona-linked centre-back Clement Lenglet is good enough to play for the Catalan giants.
Lenglet was one of the last signings of Monchi's tenure as Sevilla's sporting director, joining in a reported €4.5million deal from French side Nancy, whom he captained despite his tender age.
Still just 22, Lenglet has been a key player for Sevilla this term, playing 30 games in LaLiga and 11 in the Champions League.
The former France Under-21 international's ability on the ball and passing range have caught the eye in particular, while he has often displayed a talent for reading the play well, as exhibited by his strong performances against the physical threat of Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku in the Champions League last 16.
Barcelona, who Sevilla face in Saturday's Copa del Rey final, are said to have been keeping tabs on Lenglet since his early days in LaLiga and have been linked with a move at the end of the season.
"Lenglet is a champion, both in his head and on the pitch," Montella said of the Frenchman at a news conference ahead of Tuesday's league meeting with Deportivo La Coruna.
"He could play in a big team like Barcelona in the future, but I hope he stays at Sevilla for some years."
Lenglet is not the only man at Sevilla whose future is unclear, as Montella himself is under a bit of pressure after a poor run of five games without a win in LaLiga, which has seen bitter rivals Real Betis move above them.
Montella took over from Eduardo Berizzo in December and, although he presided over the impressive 2-1 aggregate win over United, some sections of the club's supporters doubt he is the right man to lead them next term.
"I'm happy in Sevilla," he said. "I have a contract next year, although it's not something I think about.
"I focus on day-to-day work. I know there are some conditions for the extension of the contract, but I do not think about that. Of course I would like to be here next year.
"I do not like to talk about myself. I am very critical of myself and I know there are many things that can be improved.
"We work for it, but it is not easy to do it while LaLiga is in progress. We need time and it's complicated."