Samuel Umtiti has struggled at Barcelona after his World Cup triumph with France, as multiples injuries plagued the centre-back since the start of the 2018/19 season.
The defender impressed for the La Liga side in his first two seasons after arriving at the Camp Nou from Lyon in 2016.
His then performances for the Catalan club had caught the attention of Manchester United, when José Mourinho was managing the Red Devils.
Saturday’s edition of Sport explains United were ‘willing to pay’ the 27-year-old’s then release clause of €60m.
The Premier League side wanting Umtiti in 2018 caused panic at the Camp Nou and the report states ‘Barça could not sleep’. Therefore, the Blaugrana acted swiftly and secured his long-term future by offering a new deal.
Weeks before travelling to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, the France international signed a five-year deal and with that, the player’s release clause was raised from €60m to €500m.
Umtiti was struggling with an injury in the final weeks of the 2017/18 season and a senior official has told Sport the Catalan club didn’t have the ‘slightest suspicion’ it could end in a ‘serious injury’.
Manchester United would be delighted to have missed out on Umtiti, especially when they still have Eric Bailly and Phil Jones filling the often-injured central defender quota.