Barcelona sent out a number of fringe stars on loan last summer in an effort to clean up the deadwood in the squad.
Clement Lenglet joined Tottenham Hotspur, Sergino Dest headed to AC Milan, Francisco Trincao returned to Portugal to join Sporting Lisbon, and Osasuna signed Ez Abde.
After a few years of struggle at Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti moved to Italy, joining Lecce on a season-long loan to get his flailing football career back on track after riddling injuries.
And the move that has pleasantly surprised everyone given the scale of his impressive performance for the Serie A outfit.
Safe to say, things have worked out rather well for the Frenchman as he has become a regular fixture in the backline for the Serie A minnows, putting in some solid displays to help them to important results.
Umtiti has steadily turned things around for himself in Italy, regaining his near-best form as the side sits 13th in Serie A, ten points off relegation zone.
It’s no wonder that Lecce are more than happy to keep Umtiti around for more seasons, and would even consider signing him on a permanent transfer in the summer, as per their sporting director Pantaleo Corvino.
“We are going to see if have the approval of Barcelona and the player. If we have the go-ahead from both, that can be explored. In the summer, Umtiti already chose our project,” he said, as per Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana).
“Let’s see if we have the approval of Barca and the player. If we have the go-ahead from both, that can be explored. Last summer, Umtiti already had the will to choose Lecce.”
His recent excellent form has not gone unnoticed. According to reports, the defender has emerged as a summer alternative for Barca boss Xavi, who is looking to add a left-footed CB to his squad.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Evan Ndicka and Athletic Club’s Inigo Martinez are also players being considered for that role, and will be available for free in the summer.
Should any of the aforementioned defenders arrive, Barcelona could look to cash in on Umtiti, as they look to improve the state of their finances ahead of next season.