Unless Barcelona suffer a spate of injuries in the centre of defence over the next couple of games, it’s hard to see where Samuel Umtiti gets a look in after his horrific performance against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
The Frenchman was once an undisputed starter for the Catalans but hasn’t been the same since sustaining a knee injury which he decided to treat holistically rather than allowing Barca’s club doctors to sort the problem out.It’s not a coincidence that Clement Lenglet has overtaken his countryman as first-choice alongside Gerard Pique either.
Umtiti hasn’t just lost a yard of pace, he has completely taken his eye off of the ball as far as elite level defending is concerned.
Though it was Ivan Rakitic’s pass that gave Celta their first opportunity to equalise, TV pictures of the Frenchman just jogging back to cover rather than busting a gut to get back were damning.
It maybe brought into a sharper perspective the little respect the team have for coach Quique Setien now, because any other coach would’ve hauled Umtiti off straight after that. It was unforgivable.
Ronald Araujo could certainly play a few minutes from now until the end of the season if either Lenglet or Pique were injured, so there’s no real reason to have Umtiti anywhere close to the starting XI now.
If he was a ‘possible’ in terms of summer sales before the match against the Galicians, then he’s almost certainly out of the door now. Indeed, Barca would do well to give him away for free after that performance.
The coronavirus pandemic has ensured that transfer fees will be much lower than usual in any event so if the Catalans can get anywhere close to the €25m they paid Lyon for his services, they’ll be doing well.
Finishing the season trophy less wasn’t in president, Josep Maria Bartomeu’s plans, but it will take a miracle for Quique Setien’s squad to lift the La Liga title or the Champions League in 2019/20.
Therefore, a fairly radical overhaul will be needed if Bartomeu wants to go out with a bang in his final season in charge of the club.
More big names will surely be pushed out of the door, Arthur Melo just the first shock departure of many one might expect.
Unfit, defensively poor and with no real desire to do well, if Umtiti isn’t one of those then god help the blaugranes next season.