In a recent report, Sport has provided an update on Everton‘s pursuit of Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti. It has been mentioned that the Toffees are yet to make contact with Barca, but that could change ‘in the next few days’ as they look to strengthen their interest in recruiting the French defender during the January transfer window (via Sport).
Umtiti’s Injury Problems At The Nou Camp
The Yaounde-born defensive ace has still not featured for the Catalan club this season as he has been sidelined because of a severe knee injury. Umtiti played a bit-part role for the Spanish outfit in the previous campaign when he participated in 18 matches for them, picking up six yellow cards and receiving 1316 minutes of game time in the process across various competitions.
Despite the lack of game time, the 27-year-old proved his worth by averaging 0.8 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 2.5 clearances per 90 minutes in the 2019-20 La Liga season. He hardly gave away the ball when distributing it out from the back as evident from his pass success rate of 92.2% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).
However, Umtiti’s career at the Nou Camp looks bleak, so he could welcome the opportunity to join the Toffees if Ancelotti ends up making a move to acquire his signature when the transfer window reopens next month.
What Are The 31-Time France International’s Best Attributes?
On his day, Umtiti can be a dominant figure at the back as he possesses excellent defensive awareness to pull off some important interceptions for his team. He can also clear the danger when needed and is a powerful presence on the defensive end of the field. Standing at 1.82m, the Frenchman is not the tallest defender but has got a great leap in him which helps win a lot of aerial duels inside his half.
However, frequent injuries have taken a toll on his body. There are some serious question marks over his long-term health as he has been quite injury-prone since joining from Olympique Lyonnais back in 2016.
Should Everton Launch A Move For Umtiti In January?
The way things are going for Umtiti of late, the Toffees would be taking a huge risk if they decide to recruit him this winter. Ancelotti would be better off opting for someone else based on the fact that the French defensive ace has not shown a clean bill of health for a sustained period of time in recent seasons.
At the same time, if Umtiti can stay injury-free, then he has what it takes to be a world-class defender in the future as he has got all the skillset required to be successful at the top level. So it remains to be seen whether Ancelotti is willing to take a gamble on the injury-ravaged Barca centre-half in January.