Serie A are close to agreeing a loan deal for Barcelona centre-back

In a major development, Barcelona outcast Samuel Umtiti could be closing in on a loan move to Serie A minnows Lecce, reports an Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.

The assertion is corroborated by fabrice romanowhich specifies that negotiations are underway between Lecce and Barça on a possible transfer of Umtiti, who could be on his way to Italy before the transfer window closes.

Signed from Lyon in 2016, Umtiti enjoyed strong first seasons at Barcelona. However, everything has gone downhill for him since, as injuries and a drop in form have meant he has fallen down the pecking order.

Umtiti has been out of favor for Barcelona for over a year and has played just one game all season in 2021/22. It was made clear to him that he was not in manager Xavi Hernandez’s plans for the future, and the French ace was looking for an exit.

A move to French club Rennes had been heavily touted but fell through while he has also been heavily linked with a move to former club Olympique Lyon. However, according to the latest updates, Umtiti could be heading to Italy instead, with Lecce in talks to sign him.

It will be a huge relief for Barca as they need to get rid of players to reduce their wage bill and successfully register Jules Kounde and any other potential entrants before the window closes.

A video posted by the journalist David Ibanez showed Umtiti crossing the ‘collejas tunnel’ before training earlier in the day – a tradition reserved for new signings, birthdays or player departures, which could portend the Frenchman’s imminent departure.

Umtiti signed a new contract with Barcelona taking a pay cut in the January window which helped the club register Ferran Torres and Dani Alves.

Now his potential departure, coupled with the imminent exits of Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be crucial for the Blaugranaefforts to register players without any complications in the final phase of the summer.

Leslie M. Gill