Manchester United express interest in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti – report

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has turned his attentions towards Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti as he looks to further bolster his defensive options at Manchester United, according to reports.

The 23-year-old, who started for France in the Euro 2016 final, joined Barcelona in 2016 and has since been an indispensable figure for both Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde, making 58 appearances in total.

Victor Lindelof arrived back in June for £31m but the Swede has failed to assert himself on Mourinho’s side – a notion magnified by a woeful display against Huddersfield Town.

And according to the Mirror’s Alex Richards, Mourinho has expressed keen interest in securing the services of Umtiti, who has a buyout clause of £53m.

We should note at this point that United have the best defensive record in the Premier League after 11 games, conceding just five goals in total and, perhaps more impressively, clocking up eight clean sheets.

United’s defensive frontier is hardly in crisis, then, but Mourinho will not be completely satisfied. Lindelof, for one, has been more of a hindrance than benefactor since pre-season, and the 54-year-old has never been fully convinced by Chris Smalling, who he considered selling over the summer.

But with Barcelona set to lose veteran defender Javier Mascherano next summer, Valverde will be thinking far more about buying a defender rather than letting his best one leave.

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