Samuel Umtiti appears to have done enough in his brief stint in Serie A with Lecce to prove that he is still capable of performing at an even higher level, leading to interest from each of Italian football’s last two champions in AC Milan and Inter.
Umtiti was, to all intents and purposes, forced out of Barcelona last summer and he opted to head to Salento in the south of Puglia in an attempt to rediscover regular minutes and to try to get back to the form that saw him emerge as one of the most promising defenders in Europe. That form led to the Blaugrana signing him from Lyon in 2016.
The France international played in 13 of Lecce’s opening 25 Serie A fixtures, with injuries playing their part in preventing him from being ever-present, but he has shown enough to suggest that there is still a top-level player there.
AC Milan and Inter consider Umtiti
According to Catalan publication Sport, both Inter and AC Milan are interested in making a move for Umtiti this summer. His loan agreement with Lecce ends in June 2023.
Umtiti’s Barcelona contract runs until June 30, 2026, though, so a fee would need to be paid in order to sign him. The Catalan club made no secret of being desperate to offload him last summer and in a number of previous transfer windows though, so they would likely be open to negotiations, particularly given their well-documented financial troubles.
Samuel Umtiti’s decline… and now rise?
Umtiti’s market value peaked in the summer of 2018 when, as per Transfermarkt’s figures, it hit €70 million. The same source lists his current market value at just €2m.
The move to Lecce was always intended to be one that might allow him to rediscover playing time and maybe even form, which he has managed to do.
Umtiti’s arrival in Salento was greeted with a lot of fanfare, and the defender was even reduced to tears upon landing in Puglia when fans greeted him like a hero at the airport. He spoke about the difficulties he had endured before the move, and being forced out of the Camp Nou after months and even years of Barcelona trying to get rid of him clearly took its toll.
Now, Umtiti is playing well in Serie A and he could be on the verge of returning to a Champions League club should the interest from either Inter or AC Milan present itself in the form of an offer.