Barcelona set for Umtiti injury waiting game


Barcelona have confirmed that defender Samuel Umtiti will not undergo knee surgery, but the La Liga holders have confirmed that he will remained sidelined with the issue.

Umtiti had not played for the Catalan side since September 26th, prior to their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid last weekend.

However manager Ernesto Valverde brought the French international back into the fold for the crunch tie against Diego Simeone’s side, despite uncertainty over his fitness, due to other defenders being ruled out.

The club declined to comment on reports that the 25 year old was given a painkilling injection to last the full 90 minutes, but they have now given a full update on the former Lyon player’s situation.

He will head to Qatar next week for a period of treatment and rehabilitation, which the club hope will allow him to avoid surgery at such a critical stage of the season.

Umtiti has made just eight appearances for Barcelona this season, due to the troublesome problem in his left knee, and despite playing against Atletico, he was rested for their Champions League win over PSV ahead of travelling to Qatar.

The club have not placed a time frame on his return to first team action, but the assumption is that he will miss the remainder of 2018, with the La Liga winter break utilised as an additional recovery period for him.

That means he will miss four La Liga games, against Villarreal, Espanyol, Levante and Celta Vigo, as well as the Copa del Rey second leg against Cultural Leonesa, and their final Champions League group match against Barcelona – although Valverde’s side have already qualified as group winners.

Valverde has deployed Clement Lenglet  alongside Gerard Pique in Umtiti’s absence, and the ex Sevilla man has impressed, meaning that the Frenchman will have a task on his hands to displace him from the starting line up on his return to fitness.

Alternatively, Valverde may look to give some of his young stars a chance, as he bids to keep Lenglet and Pique fresh, in case of an extension to Umtiti’s injury problems.

19 year old Juan Brandariz and 18 year old Juan Miranda have both seen first team action in the Copa del Rey this season, and they could be called upon again in the coming weeks.

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