Jose Mourinho on red alert after top defensive target stalls on new deal

Samuel Umtiti

Manchester United have been offered encouragement in the pursuit of Samuel Umtiti, who has apparently reached a contract impasse with Barcelona. The France international has caught the eye of United boss Jose Mourinho after learning of the €60m release clause on his Camp Nou contract.

According to The Record, Umtiti’s representatives had a recent discussion with the Barcelona hierarchy, where they failed to increase the defender’s wages from €4m to around €9m. The Catalan giants are reluctant to discuss the deal after spending €105m and €160m respectively for the signatures of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho. They also went ahead to commit Argentine superstar Lionel Messi for another three seasons, and this included a €100m signing-on bonus- in addition to his €30m annual wages after tax.

The Financial Fair Play requirements are likely to have played a role in Barcelona’s decision, and this could potentially play into United’s hands, should Mourinho consider pursuing a new centre-back during the summer.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have come under criticism for their performances following the turn of the year, but the former has continued to gain the trust of the manager. Moreover, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are reckoned by many as the preferred centre-back partnership for United in the long-run, but the former still needs to prove his fitness over an extended run of matches.

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