Everton have emerged as a contender for the signing of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, according to a report.
The Toffees’ interest in Umtiti is at the request of manager Carlo Ancelotti, claim Diario Sport. The Everton boss is keen to shore up his defence in the January transfer window.
Everton had a strong start to the season under Ancelotti, but their form has since faltered. They have conceded 10 goals in their last five matches, only one of which they won.
Hence, it appears they need to strengthen their defence if they are to recapture their early season form. While their attention may be in the full-back areas after the injury to Lucas Digne, Ancelotti could be considering a reinforcement in the centre of defence as well.
According to Sport, Umtiti has been outlined as a potential target. The Frenchman has fallen out of favour at Barcelona due to a combination of injuries and competition for places.
He was linked with a move away in the summer transfer window, but eventually stayed put. He has not played at all since.
With his gametime limited as such, he could reconsider his future in January. Everton could provide him with an opportunity for more regular gametime.
At present, the only senior centre-backs in Ancelotti’s squad are Mason Holgate, Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey. However, with Everton now having conceded more goals than the bottom side in the league, Sheffield United, they could make a move for another reinforcement.
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No contact for Umtiti yet
There has been no bid for Umtiti yet, nor even any contact with Barcelona. However, the two clubs have dealt with each other on numerous occasions before; Everton signed Digne, Mina and Andre Gomes from the La Liga giants.
Despite not using him yet this season, Barcelona may need Umtiti due to an injury crisis at the back. Indeed, he still wants to prove himself at Camp Nou.
However, with Barcelona needing to cut costs, a departure may be in the best interests of all concerned – potentially giving Everton an opportunity if they firm up their interest.
Their rivals Liverpool have also been linked with a move, though.