Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has stressed that the club must look to maintain its salary structure when it comes to negotiations for a new contract for Manchester United target Samuel Umtiti.
The Frenchman’s contract runs until 2021 but his release clause stands at just £54m, prompting interest from Man United and a series of other European suitors.
Negotiations have been protracted, however, with Barcelona refusing to countenance Umtiti’s demands for a salary on par with the likes of Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta following an excellent season at the Nou Camp.
And Bartomeu, when asked about Umtiti, was adamant that the club, whilst determine to reach an agreement, would not disrupt their salary structure in the process.
“Umtiti has a contract,” he said.
“We are talking with him to renew it. We try to maintain a salary structure that has a certain harmony. We will try to reach an agreement because he has had a good season. The important thing is that we work in peace.”
Barcelona has always been a club embroiled in money troubles of some sort. They had to sit out of two transfer windows to sign Neymar and now, having spent north of £100m twice in the last year, find themselves in an awkward situation when it comes to Umtiti.
The financial burden of Philipe Coutinho’s arrival in January, coupled with Lionel Messi’s new contract and the impending arrival of Antoine Griezmann in the summer, has meant Barcelona need to force Umtiti into a comprise.
Umtiti may rightly feel that he deserves a wage tantamount with the best defenders in the world following recent exploits, and if that isn’t available at Barcelona he may indeed look elsewhere.