Lionel Messi 'wanted to stay' says Barcelona president
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta recently held an intense meeting with Samuel Umtiti after ordering the defender to depart the club. Proceedings got so tense that the discussion left Umtiti in tears after Laporta granted his request to stay for another season, according to reports in Spain.
Barcelona’s financial troubles have been widely documented in recent months, with the club cutting costs in the summer transfer window.
Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets agreed to take pay cuts so the club could register all of its new signings to play in La Liga.
Lionel Messi couldn’t renew his Barca contract, prompting his shock move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Antoine Griezmann also left Camp Nou, returning to Atletico just two years after he exited in a £108million deal in 2019.
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According to Mundo Deportivo, Laporta was keen to get Umtiti off the wage bill after injury troubles had limited his appearances in recent seasons.
Laporta recently called an urgent meeting and told the 27-year-old to find a new club due to his lack of contribution.
Umtiti ‘burst into tears’ whilst fighting to stay at the club, explaining that the club’s medical staff hadn’t been treating his injuries correctly.
The Barcelona president agreed to let Umtiti remain in Koeman’s squad upon listening to his emotional plea, after which the Frenchman broke down again.
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Umtiti will be thrilled to have been granted an opportunity to stay with the La Liga giants for the campaign ahead.
He joins Pique, Clement Lenglet, Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo in making up Koeman’s central defensive options at Camp Nou.
Worries over his fitness are warranted, though, after making just 29 league starts across the past three seasons.
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Umtiti has suffered from recurring knee problems, which supporters hope won’t crop up again in 2021/22.
His injury issues saw him miss out on a place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad at Euro 2020 in the summer.
They have seen him slip down the Barca pecking order, and he’s potentially now fourth in Koeman’s mind.
If he can stay fit, aged 27, there is still plenty of time for him to salvage his career at Camp Nou and prove to Laporta that he’s a player worth keeping in this new era under Koeman’s watch.
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