Barcelona defender and Manchester United target Samuel Umtiti has confirmed that Jose Mourinho has expressed interest in signing him but made it clear he was committed to staying at the Nou Camp.
The Frenchman, who currently earns £50,000 a week, has a release clause of just £54m and is yet to reach an agreement with Barcelona over an improved contract.
Mourinho has reportedly sought to capitalise on this by personally contacting Umtiti to tell him that a healthy financial package would be waiting for him at Old Trafford in the summer.
And Umtiti, when asked about his future, remarked that Man United were not the only club to register interest in his services but was adamant about staying at Barcelona.
“It’s not only Manchester United,” he said. “Other clubs want me as well, but my sole focus is on Barcelona. It was my dream to play at Barça. And I achieved it when I was just 22. I’m very happy here, whenever I play and whenever I train.”
“Negotiations for a contract renewal have not started yet. My release clause is low, but that’s not what I worry about, I focus on the pitch.”
Umtiti has become too valuable of a player for Barcelona to not unequivocally tie down with a big contract. Real Madrid’s Isco has a release clause €700m, for example. The Frenchman’s performances this term have undoubtedly merited something similar.
The only chance, I thought, of United prizing Umtiti away from Barcelona would be down to financial reasons. Ed Woodward could have tempted Umtiti with a package his current club – mindful of the costs of Philipe Coutinho, Lionel Messi’s new contract, and Antoine Griezmann’s arrival in the summer – refuse to dish out.
But when a player loves his club, like Umtiti does with Barca, there isn’t much you can do.