A troika of Barca players led by Lionel Messi is reportedly opposing Samuel Umtiti’s wishes to remain at the club. Rumoured to be comprised of Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique apart from Messi himself, they would rather see the Frenchman up sticks and move to another club.
According to Diario Gol, the trio might not have any specific issues with the player as such but are adamant that the club recruits young Ajax centre-half Matthijs de Ligt. They fear that if Umtiti prolongs his stay at the Camp Nou, the young Dutchman might give the Catalans a skip and settle elsewhere instead.
The Frenchman, who has struggled with injuries this season, has slipped down the ranks behind fellow countryman, Clement Lenglet in the Barca defence. The defensive pairing of Pique and Lenglet has proven to be quite conducive to Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona and even if de Ligt were to arrive, in all likelihood, he would have to begin as an understudy to the duo.
If this rumour is indeed true, it would be interesting to see how Valverde deals with the situation. One can safely assume that the manager will be wary of rubbing Messi, Suarez and Pique- three of his seniormost players- the wrong way.