Jose Mourinho has been on the lookout for defensive reinforcements for a while now, thanks to the consistently below-par performances from several of his current centre-backs.
In fact, as per Sport, the Portuguese tactician had identified Umtiti as a potential transfer target back in January, and was even prepared to activate the defender’s £53.4million release clause, offering the youngster a £103,000-a-week salary after tax.
However, the Barcelona officials were quick to put an end to United’s approach, and instead, offered the French international a brand new contract, in order to tie him down at the Camp Nou for the long term.
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But the Catalan giants seem to have hit a roadblock, as the 24-year-old wants his current club to match Manchester United’s impressive offer in terms of weekly wages, according to Don Balon.
Barca are adamant to get the deal done as soon as possible, preferably before the 2018 World Cup kicks off, but there is supposedly still “a long way to go” before Umtiti agrees to extend his stay at the club.
The report adds that the ex-Lyon centre-back’s representatives have told Barcelona that they have a month to improve the offer, and their failure to do so would lead the in-demand starlet to secure a move to the Theatre of Dreams come summer.
Amid the speculation surrounding the player’s future, manager Ernesto Valverde recently spoke on this topic, and stated: “Umtiti is a great player and we expect him to stay at Barca for many more years and for him to enjoy his football with us.
“To an extent, the buyout clause is made high so that you can’t buy the player. But, as time goes by, that fee doesn’t seem so high at all. But the player still has to want to leave. We’re very happy with Umtiti and I’m sure he’s going to stay here for a very long time.”