The Manchester Clubs go head to head to sign Barcelona and French defender Samuel Umtiti. Both clubs are looking to reinforce their back lines with key injuries to their defences.
Umtiti has a buyout clause in his contract of £53mil. After Van Dijk had completed his £75mil move to Liverpool earlier this month, Umtiti’s buyout clause is looking like value for money.
This is how his defensive stats compare to United defenders:
He has more successful tackles and interceptions per game than any other Man Utd defender. The only defender with a better tackle to foul ratio is Phil Jones, but Umtiti is more effective at blocking shots.
Having watched a few of his games he is a very strong defender, on par with Eric Bailly. However, he has a tendency to go down quite easily which is a trait of the Spanish Division. The concern is, if you don’t get awarded a foul from going down in the Premier League, you leave your team open to conceding easy goals.
He’s good at tackling and very sharp at intercepting through balls. Another slight concern is he turns his back on the attackers too frequently: You lose sight of the opposition and if they dummy a shot or pass you can put yourself out of the game. He’s good in the air and is a very strong player.
I think that the points of concern can be trained out of him quite easily, and he’d learn fast in the Premier League. For a player with his experience and skillset in the current market he’d be good value. If we did go for him we’d likely be setting up in a 3-5-2 formation with Umtiti, Bailly and Lindelof being the future starters.
Barcelona are trying to get him on a new contract with a higher release clause, but are unwilling to match his wage demands. City are currently favourites to sign him in January as they have reportedly has face to face talks with no offers being rejected at this stage.
Would you want to United spend £53mil on Umtiti to strengthen our defence and prevent our rivals from buying him? Our defence hasn’t been brilliant and we rely too heavily on De Gea as my previous article points out; Umtiti could provide De Gea with a little extra protection. A defence with Bailly and Umtiti would be an intimidating prospect and they would leave Old Trafford battered and bruised.