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Reliability is possibly the most important virtue of a central defender. A coach needs to know what he is receiving from his centers, that is crucial.
So would it be fair to say that Samuel Umtiti is not the answer to any troublesome injury-related situation for a top-tier soccer club?
Well, yes, it would.
Despite his track record, the Frenchman has been linked to various clubs as a solution to the widespread injury crises in Europe. The central defender has been identified by Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus as a replacement for veteran Giorgio Chiellini.
The 36-year-old has struggled to stay fit this season due to the hectic schedule. While it seems likely that he will return soon enough from muscle problems, I Bianconeri wants a solution to the possibility of him being sidelined again for the entire season.
Liverpool have suffered many injuries up to this point, and it’s no secret that they have been searching the market for central defense options after the long-term injuries of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Umtiti has recently been identified as a possible acquisition to fill the void at the back of Jurgen Klopp.
Those most closely linked to the 27-year-old player are Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. The Toffees boss reportedly wants to invest in better quality options in central defense, due to the significantly lackluster performances of Mason Holgate and Yerry Mina so far this campaign that have prompted the Italian to seek starting options elsewhere. .
There is no doubt that Umtiti is a quality player. The center-back was a key component of Didier Deschamps’ World Cup-winning team in 2018, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Belgium in the semi-finals. Under normal circumstances, the Frenchman is an exceptional player to have on his team, competing with other players for a spot in the starting eleven.
However, these are not normal circumstances. He can’t help but see the irony when Umtiti, whose potentially world-class career has been stifled by knee injuries, is named as a solution for a number of clubs that are in, well, times of serious injury.
Since the 2018 World Cup, in which Umtiti was impeccable alongside Raphael Varane, the Barcelona center-back has played just 33 times for his club. The Frenchman has suffered from knee problems intermittently, which has been the main cause of his absences.
Those absences have paved the way for his compatriot Clement Lenglet to establish himself as a firm favorite for the club and the national team. With Umtiti catching up from far behind, there is no question that the former Lyon player is off speed and has a considerable lack of match fitness as he focuses on his rehabilitation.
On his way to recovery, Umtiti has been training with Barcelona B and is said to be constantly coming back. However, with January just around the corner, it seems highly unlikely that the Frenchman will match the sharpness of top-flight clubs, especially given the busy schedule this season brings.
It is a pity that Umtiti’s career has led him to a situation of exile at Barcelona. The unfortunate nature of his spell on the Catalan giants has prompted his club to cut its asking price and make it available by around £ 10 million, depending on which outlets you trust.
While this is obviously a minimal fee for someone of his potential quality, the 27-year-old has a hefty salary, as well as the possibility of a stint on the doctor’s table due to an unreliable knee, a prospect that neither it’s even worth thinking about. for most managers in today’s circumstances.
At a time when maintaining finances is a high priority, signings have to be more and more astute. It’s safe to say that taking Umtiti’s salary and track record aside to combat the serious injury crisis would not be “smart business.”
The Frenchman cannot be considered a viable solution to come in and fill the defensive voids of the clubs that play two games a week. It just isn’t reliable.