Barcelona have confirmed the departure of Samuel Umtiti on a season-long loan to Serie A side Lecce, with no option to buy.

The World Cup winner only penned a new extension with Barca earlier this year, albeit on reduced wages.

He will spend the 2022-23 campaign in Italy with newly promoted Lecce, who are looking to consolidate their position in the top tier.

Umtiti joined Barca from Lyon in 2016 and has made 133 appearances across all competitions for the club, winning two league titles and the Copa del Rey on three occasions.

In addition, he was a key member of the France squad that claimed World Cup glory at Russia 2018, though the centre-back has not played for his country since 2019 and is expected to miss out on selection for this year's tournament in Qatar.

He becomes the latest player to be offloaded by Barca as they seek to get their squad in order following a high-spending transfer window, despite well-documented financial difficulties.

Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde have arrived, with Neto, Oscar Mingueza, Riqui Puig, Luuk de Jong, Adama Traore and Dani Alves among those to leave so far.

Barca are still yet to register former Sevilla defender Kounde, whose future at Camp Nou could well hinge upon whether Xavi's side are able to offload forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Memphis Depay before the deadline, while Martin Braithwaite is another player they would like to move on.

Chelsea lost 3-0 to Leeds United on Sunday and it would appear that defeat has sparked the Blues into action.

New owner Todd Boehly has been keen to make his mark since arriving at Stamford Bridge, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among others.

But head coach Thomas Tuchel wants more. Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana is a priority target for the defence, while last week Chelsea had two bids rejected by Everton for Anthony Gordon.

Now it would appear the Blues are confident of completing the signing, while they are also reportedly in talks to land a second attacker.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA IN FOR GORDON AND LEAO

The Times reports that Chelsea will this week push ahead and match Everton's £50million asking price for winger Gordon, who scored four goals in a breakthrough Premier League season last term.

Everton boss Frank Lampard stressed the importance of Gordon to his plans, and played the 21-year-old against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but also suggested that a decision might have to be made if a bid was too good to turn down.

Gordon might also be joined in moving to Stamford Bridge by Milan star Rafael Leao. The Portugal international scored 11 times for the Rossoneri as they won Serie A last season, and the same report claims that Chelsea are in talks with the Italian champions over a move for the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- Several outlets are reporting that West Ham have struck a deal with Chelsea to sign left-back Emerson Palmieri for around £13million.

- Eric Bailly is close to joining Marseille on loan from Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- The Telegraph claims Newcastle United have been told they must pay £30million to buy striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

- Villarreal coach Unai Emery told El Larguero that Edinson Cavani could join the club, while he also said that Juan Foyth is of interest to Barcelona.

- Everton were hoping to have Idrissa Gueye and Mohammed Kudus signed but have bumped into difficulties with Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, says The Times.

- Fabrizio Romano also reports that Fulham and Roma will hold further talks this week over Justin Kluivert.

- Barca defender Samuel Umtiti will join Lecce, says Gianluca Di Marzio.

Manchester United have come in for huge criticism following their poor start to the season.

United have failed to land major off-season transfer targets and are eager to add reinforcements.

The start of Erik ten Hag's tenure as manager has been hugely disappointing, with back-to-back Premier League defeats.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TURN TO VARDY TO SOLVE STRIKER ISSUES

Manchester United are considering a bid for Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy to solve their striker conundrum, claims The Athletic.

The Red Devils have endured a frustrating transfer window and have only netted once in their opening two league games.

Vardy is among a number of targets United are keen on, having also been linked with Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Sun.

 

ROUND-UP

– TalkSPORT claims Manchester United are getting close to a €50million (£42m) deal for Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha. The 23-year-old joined Atletico from Hertha Berlin last year on a five-year deal.

Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Inter's Cesare Casadei, according to Calciomercato. Inter have set their asking price at €15m (£12.5m) plus €5m in bonuses, which the Blues are edging closer to meet. The deal may aid Romelu Lukaku sealing a permanent switch to the Nerazzurri.

– Talks are ongoing between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus on agreeing a move for Leandro Paredes, reports Fabrizio Romano. Personal terms have been agreed between the Argentinian and the Bianconeri on a long-term deal.

Wolves will sign Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes for a club-record fee of €45m (£38m) plus €5m in add-ons from Sporting CP, according to Record. Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City had been tracking Nunes.

– Diario Sport claims Barcelona may be willing to let Samuel Umtiti exit as a free agent amid interest from various unnamed clubs. Umtiti, who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2026, has struggled with injuries during his time at the Blaugrana.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed the club are looking to offload Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite before the transfer window closes.

The LaLiga giants have been busy in the transfer market, signing Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen – with Chelsea's Marcos Alonso lined up as the next recruit.

Barca could not afford to keep Lionel Messi a year ago due to their financial crisis and there has been talk that LaLiga may not give them the green light to register their new recruits due to limits on spending.

Laporta has stated that he does not envisage any issues after the club signed up to a hugely lucrative sponsorship deal with Spotify, and sold a percentage of LaLiga broadcast rights, merchandising rights and a stake in Barca Studios.

Barca are prepared to activate a fourth financial lever to allow for those registrations, if required, and are also looking to reduce their wage bill, with departures and negotiations for wage reductions on the cards.

With the new season beginning on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano, Barca are in a race against time to register their new additions and, while Laporta remains confident they will be able to do so, there is still work to be done.

Ahead of Sunday's pre-season clash against Mexican side Pumas, Laporta revealed Umtiti and Braithwaite have been informed that they are not in the club's plans - following on from the cancellation of Neto's contract, with the goalkeeper joining Bournemouth.

"Umtiti and Braithwaite have a contract, but they have understood that the coach does not count on them and that the best thing for them is to leave," he told ESport3.

Laporta added: "We are awaiting some more dismissals, but with the operations we have carried out we understand that we will be able to register all signings and renewed players."

Frenkie de Jong is another player who has been heavily touted for an exit before the window closes on September 1, but Laporta has once again outlined the club's desire to retain the services of the Netherlands international.

"Frenkie de Jong is a Barca player. He has offers, but he wants to stay, and we want him to stay," he added.

Rennes coach Bruno Genesio has not played down reports suggesting a move for Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti, adding the star is a "high-level player".

The Ligue 1 outfit have been linked for a move for the France international, who endured a torrid 2021-22 campaign at Camp Nou rocked by injury.

A Europa League qualifying finish for Rennes has left Genesio seeking "sports guarantees" in regard to his transfer aims, and the World Cup winner - whom he previously coached at Lyon - would fit the bill.

"Sam is a player I know perfectly well," he stated. "I trained him as a youth player and then in the Lyon first team. That creates a bond.

"You all know his history, his qualities [and] the setbacks he had last year. But he is still a high-level player, and we are interested in high-level players," 

Genesio touched on his desire to reinforce Rennes' squad too, adding that he needs an influx of fresh talent to replicate their 2021-22 feats.

"I want to have sports guarantees," he stated. "We just had a very good season. To continue, we need a quality group.

"I needed to have a lot of answers in the backbone of the team that we were going to be able to maintain and what we were able to do in terms of reinforcements."

Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti could be set for a shock move to Girona, with the newly promoted LaLiga outfit refusing to rule out signing the defender.

Umtiti, a 2018 World Cup winner with France, joined Barcelona from Lyon in 2016 and was originally a first-team regular, but the 28-year-old has been continually linked with an exit after suffering a spate of injuries over the last few seasons.

He played just one league game last term as Xavi led Barcelona to second place in LaLiga after taking over from Ronald Koeman, having made a total of 40 such appearances across the three previous campaigns combined.

Amid Barcelona's financial woes, Umtiti agreed a three-year contract extension containing a salary reduction in January, allowing the Catalan giants to meet their league-imposed salary cap and register new attacker Ferran Torres.

But with Barcelona now looking to offload players in order to fund a move for wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Umtiti has been linked with another Catalan outfit in Girona.

And Pere Guardiola, brother of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and president of Girona's board of directors, told Spanish radio station Cadena SER that such a move cannot be ruled out.

"We aren't ruling out Umtiti signing for Girona," he admitted. "[But] for these things, speak to [sporting director] Quique Carcel and [head coach] Michel." 

The inevitable at Camp Nou has arrived along with the end of the season in LaLiga.

Xavi's rebuild and transformation of the Barcelona has lingered over this past season, despite the need to recover from their slow start.

According to reports, the Blaugrana are not wasting any time.

TOP STORY – XAVI CLEAR-OUT TO BEGIN AT BARCELONA   

Xavi has informed a number of Barcelona's players that the club is intending to sell them, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite have already been notified they are not in the club's future plans.

The four of them have been peripheral figures under Xavi, since he took over as head coach in November, but he had avoided contract talk with the press during the season.

While the 42-year-old has confirmed he has spoken to those four players "and others", it appears to be only the start of a sizeable squad transformation.

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, the Barca boss has confirmed they are in talks to sign Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Goal reports.

– Napoli have rejected a €90million (£76m) bid from Arsenal for Victor Osimhen, according to Calciomercato.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a final offer for Paul Pogba, but Juventus are confident their offer of a €14.2m yearly salary will be sufficient.

– The Daily Mail is also reporting that Inter want Ivan Perisic to agree to a new contract amid interest from Tottenham and Chelsea.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is reportedly finished at Everton – and he may have a chance to put himself in the shop window when his side play Arsenal in the last game of the Premier League season.

After 13 goals in Everton's 2019-20 Premier League campaign, and 16 in the 2020-21 season, the 25-year-old struggled with injuries this time around, missing three months with a fractured toe and scoring five goals in 16 league appearances.

Coming through Sheffield United's youth academy before moving to Everton in 2016, it appears unlikely Calvert-Lewin's next move will take him out of the country, with two Premier League clubs said to be leading the race.

 

TOP STORY – CALVERT-LEWIN SET FOR ARSENAL AUDITION

According to Football Insider, Calvert-Lewin expects Sunday's fixture to be his last appearance for the Toffees, and Arsenal are named as one of the two Premier League sides interested in making a move for the English striker.

Newcastle United are the other interested party, although Calvert-Lewin is said to have communicated to friends that his preferred landing spot would be Arsenal.

With the Arsenal futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah up in the air, the Gunners have reportedly set aside £45million to be used on a young striker in the upcoming transfer window.

 

ROUND-UP

– Marca reports that Real Madrid have interest in Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan if he leaves in the next transfer window, although Pep Guardiola wants to keep the German international at the club.

Newcastle are ruling out a move for Manchester United's Jesse Lingard, unless he lowers his wage requests from £150,000 per week, according to ESPN.

– Sport reports that Barcelona have made centre-back Samuel Umtiti available to Arsenal, with a loan move more likely.

– Eurosport claims Paul Pogba will choose between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus for his next club.

– According to football.london, 20-year-old Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson has plenty of Premier League admirers, with Tottenham named as an interested party.

Barcelona are reportedly open to "big-money" offers for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong, who has 40 caps for the Netherlands, arrived at Barcelona from Ajax for a €75million fee in 2019, accumulating 137 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The midfielder has been a key pillar in Barcelona's line-up this season, appearing 44 times, but the Catalan giants may be ready to move on as the interest from United intensifies.

TOP STORY – BARCA ARE CONSIDERING OFFERS FOR DE JONG

The Blaugrana are open-minded about potentially parting ways with De Jong, who is being closely linked with his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag for his new venture at United.

He is one of the main players on the Red Devils' wish-list, which Fichajes reports also includes Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

The Telegraph adds that Ten Hag has identified eight players "he can trust" at the club, while being on the fence about Marcus Rashford's future.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku would like to leave the club after this season, with a desire to head to Manchester City, United, Paris Saint-Germain or Milan

Newcastle United have met with the agent of Watford's Ismaila Sarr but will have to match the club's £40million asking price, per FootballTransfers.

Bayer Leverkusen are planning a move for PSG youngster Eric-Junior Dina Ebimbe after failing to secure the deal during the January transfer window, according to RMC Sport.

– Sport is reporting Samuel Umtiti will leave Barcelona in the next transfer window and wants to return to Lyon, who will be competing for his services with Rennes, Montpellier and Nice

– Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is unlikely to sign an extension with the club and could be sold in the next transfer window with his contract set to expire in 2023, according to The Times.

Samuel Umtiti is expected to be out of action for around three months after undergoing surgery on a fractured metatarsal, Barcelona have announced. 

France international Umtiti had a procedure on his right foot on Tuesday and will be consigned to the sidelines until April at the earliest. 

A club statement read: "Samuel Umtiti has undergone successful surgery on the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. 

"Tuesday's operation was performed by Dr Antoni Dalmau under supervision of the FC Barcelona Medical Services. He is expected to be out of action for around three months. 

"The French centre-back suffered the fracture in training on Monday." 

Umtiti this month signed a new contract that tied him to Camp Nou until 2026, despite having been heavily linked with an exit.  

The World Cup-winning defender's three-year extension included a temporary pay decrease that allowed new signing Ferran Torres to be registered. 

Umtiti has long been a peripheral figure at Barcelona, featuring in just 17 games in all competitions since the start of last season.

Samuel Umtiti has fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot just a week after agreeing a contract extension at Barcelona, the club announced on Monday.

Umtiti had appeared to be on his way out of Camp Nou this month until a shock new deal was sealed to keep him in Catalonia until 2026.

The World Cup winner, whose previous contract was set to expire in 2023, was linked with a host of clubs, including big-spending Newcastle United.

Instead, Barca kept Umtiti on board when he agreed to a temporary pay decrease that allowed new signing Ferran Torres to be registered.

Whether Umtiti was subsequently set to see his involvement in the first team increase – having appeared in 18 matchday LaLiga squads this season but played just once – will for now remain a mystery, however.

Monday brought news of a serious injury for the France international that will require surgery.

"The first team player Samuel Umtiti took a blow to his right foot in training on Monday and has fractured his fifth metatarsal bone," a club statement read.

"The player will undergo surgery on Tuesday with doctor Antoni Dalmau and with the club's medical services supervising. Another press release will be issued when the surgery has taken place."

Barcelona have finally been able to register new signing Ferran Torres after agreeing a new contract with Samuel Umtiti that sees the Frenchman's salary temporarily decreased.

Barca signed Torres from Manchester City last month in a deal that could eventually cost €65million, but due to the club's financial difficulties, they were unable to register him.

The Blaugrana's salary cap this season was set at just €97m, a decrease of €280m from 2020-21 due to their financial performance.

Although a recent bank loan reportedly made the signing of Torres possible, the club have had to be creative with their use of funds to ensure he is eligible to play in LaLiga.

That has involved Umtiti, who is now tied to the club until 2026, rather than 2023.

Umtiti's Barca career has been heavily impacted by injuries since he joined from Lyon in 2016, with his inability to be a reliable option at the back contributing to him becoming unpopular among some supporters.

As recently as last month he felt compelled to confront a group of fans who had blocked his car at the club's training ground.

During the incident, one of Umtiti's harassers jumped on the bonnet of the player's car.

But despite those issues and reports suggesting Barca had been trying to get Umtiti out of the club, the France international has been given a new contract and thanked for assisting in getting Torres registered.

A statement read: "Barcelona and first-team player Samuel Umtiti have reached an agreement to extend the latter's contract until June 30, 2026.

"The French defender is reducing a part of the salary that he was due to receive in the year and a half remaining on his contract.

"This contract extension operation does not entail any greater financial commitments for Barcelona with regards to the player.

"Barcelona wishes to publicly express its gratitude to Samuel Umtiti for his willingness and the affection that he has demonstrated towards the club.

"Through this contract extension, Barcelona will be able to increase its 'financial fair play' quota and thus register Ferran Torres with the Spanish Professional Football League."

Nevertheless, Torres remains absent from the group travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa de Espana, with Barca set to face Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Spain international tested positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday, as did Pedri, and neither have been included in the selection.

However, Ansu Fati and Frenkie de Jong are both travelling to Riyadh despite not having "medical approval".

Dani Alves has been cleared to play in Barcelona's Copa del Rey tie at Linares Deportivo on Wednesday and Ousmane Dembele is back in the squad.

Alves agreed a surprise return to Barca in November and featured in a friendly draw with Boca Juniors in Saudi Arabia last month.

The 38-year-old Brazil full-back's registration has now been sanctioned and he has been included in the squad for the round-of-32 match.

Dembele was also given the green light to travel to Andalusia after testing negative for coronavirus.

Barca have suffered a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp, with Alves having also tested positive, but Dembele is back in contention.

Clement Lenglet also returned a positive test last week and the defender remains sidelined after Barca revealed he and Samuel Umtiti are suffering with a stomach bug.

Sergino Dest, Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho, Pedri, Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite, Ferran Torres, Gavi, Ez Abde and Alejandro Balde are all ruled out of the cup clash.

The holders are also without suspended striker Luuk de Jong.

Barcelona have confirmed Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Gavi have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Blaugrana were previously hit with positives for Clement Lenglet, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Alejandro Balde in the past week.

A statement on the club's website on Wednesday read: "The footballers Dembele, Umtiti and Gavi are positive for COVID-19 after PCR tests on the squad. 

"The players are in good health and self-isolating at home. The club has reported the cases to the relevant authorities."

Umtiti has largely been out of favour at Camp Nou this season, playing just once across all competitions, while Dembele has only managed eight appearances (four starts) having spent a significant period out through injury.

Gavi is the club's third-highest appearance maker in this campaign, though, with the 17-year-old midfielder playing 22 times, 17 of which have been starts. Only Sergio Busquets has featured more often.

The Blaugrana sit in seventh place in LaLiga, two points off fourth and 18 behind leaders Real Madrid, and travel to face Real Mallorca next on January 2.

Newcastle United are set to flex their financial muscles during the January transfer window.

The Magpies are struggling in the Premier League drop zone even after claiming a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

But following a change of ownership they have funds available to bolster their squad.
 

TOP STORY - MAGPIES KEEN ON BARCELONA'S UMTITI

Cashed-up Newcastle are considering a move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti according to The Sun.

The 2018 World Cup winner has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, who are looking to offload players due to their financial issues.

Eddie Howe's side have conceded a league-high 42 goals and want to shore up their backline to aid their case to avoid relegation.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have ramped up their bid to sign Leeds United's Raphinha, claims The Sun. Leeds remain hopeful of keeping the Brazil international.

- Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Raphinha according to the Express, who also claim they will allow Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to depart.

- Tottenham are leading the way to secure the signature of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie with the two parties in advanced talks, reports the Express.

- Ex-Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho's preferred new home is Arsenal,  with Barcelona keen to offload the Brazil international according to Sport.

- Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina are all on high alert with Torino's Italy international striker Andrea Belotti set to exit the club when his contract expires at season's end, reports Calciomercato.

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