Barcelona have reportedly made informal contacts with Samuel Umtiti over signing a new contract at Camp Nou, amid interest from Manchester United.

According to a report by Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona are eager to tie Samuel Umtiti down to a new deal, and have begun informal talks with the player’s camp to reach agreement over a renewal before the World Cup. The French defender is the subject of interest from Manchester United.

Umtiti joined Barcelona from Lyon in the summer of 2016, and is already a vital component in the first-team squad at Camp Nou, having become an indispensable component of the back-line whenever fit. Brimming with pace and an expert reading of the game, his defensive abilities have seen the player being regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

Having amassed 66 appearances for the Catalan club though, there are concerns surrounding the future of Umtiti at Camp Nou. The Frenchman’s current Barcelona contract has a meagre release clause by today’s standards – worth €60 million, and it has sparked interest from Manchester United.

The Red Devils do not have a shortage of defensive personnel, with the likes of Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and the versatile Daley Blind at Jose Mourinho’s disposal. But, Manchester United have often come up short at the back during the long-term absence of Bailly.

Mourinho is, thus, believed to be eager to bolster his options at the back to create a truly solid spine at Old Trafford, making the Barcelona man a viable target. The €60 million release clause does not really pose any problems for Manchester United either, who are prepared to shell out the amount to secure his services.

With concrete interest in Umtiti mounting from Manchester United, Barcelona are on their toes to tie him down to a new deal, before the summer transfer window opens. There are two major objectives for the Blaugrana as they look to open formal talks with the player soon.

Firstly, they will bump the buyout clause to €200 million, which would make every club think twice before making an offer. Secondly, Barcelona would offer Umtiti significantly higher wages than his current pay package as a mark of his standing in the first-team setup.

Sporting director Robert Fernandez and other members of the Barcelona hierarchy are confident that the 24-year-old, who enjoys a good relationship with the club, would put pen to paper on the renewal, that will run through till 2023.

It now remains to be seen if Barcelona indeed succeed in tying Umtiti down to a new deal at Camp Nou, or if Manchester United are able to turn his head before and swoop him away to the illustrious Premier League.

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