Sky Sports football expert Guillem Balague believes Samuel Umtiti is playing a two-card game in order to earn a new bumper contract at Barcelona. The France international has stressed his ambition to stay at the Camp Nou despite reports suggesting that he wants to treble his current wages of £50,000-a-week.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Balague said: “What is absolutely true at the moment is that Samuel Umtiti is playing a two-card game, on the one hand he is telling Barcelona he would like to stay but on the other he wants to treble his wages. It’s not normal for a player in their second season at Barcelona to renew their contract just because Manchester United reportedly wants to trigger his €60m buy-out clause. At this moment in time negotiations have stopped and right now Barcelona are less positive than they were in the past, but there is still a long way to go.”
Umtiti has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United ever since his £52m release clause was revealed. However, it now appears that the defender may be using the interest as a leverage to command an improved contract with the Catalan giants – just like Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos a couple of years ago.
Should this be the case, United may have to look elsewhere to bolster their central defensive department which has looked vulnerable on the road of late. The futures of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, in particular, have come for question over the past few months, and it would not be surprising if one of the pair are offloaded alongside Daley Blind, who has not started a Premier League game for United since August.
Manchester United is presently second in the Premier League standings with 68 points, and their next game is against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. A defeat on the road would see their arch-rivals lift the Premier League title.