Everton must walk away now after reports emerged claiming the Goodison Park outfit are lining up a January move for FC Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.

What’s the word?

According to Mundo Deportivo, Carlo Ancelotti could offer Umtiti a route out of the Camp Nou come the mid-season market, with the French centre-half once again expected to be made available for a transfer.

Barcelona attempted to offload the 27-year-old this summer during negotiations with Olympique Lyonnais for Memphis Depay but they saw negotiations break down, leaving Umtiti in Catalunya where he is yet to play a single minute under new boss Ronald Koeman.

Umtiti has been plagued by a string of knee injuries for the last two years with the La Liga giants, whom he joined from Lyon in 2016 for €25million (£22.5m). Barcelona recommended that he have surgery on his knee but the 31-cap French international refused.

Now, Barca are willing to offload the £208,000-per-week defender for less than half what they signed him for, with his market value touted at just €12m (£10.8m) as they strive to lower their wage bill with Umtiti among the highest-earners at the Camp Nou.

Walk away now

Everton would be barking up entirely the wrong tree if Director of Football Marcel Brands were to return to Catalunya looking to sign Umtiti, following previous moves to sign Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne from Barcelona.

On his day, there can be no doubting Umtiti’s worth on the pitch with Darren Bent once lauding the 2018 World Cup winner for being a “big, strong, powerful” defender who is “good on the ball” amid rumours of interest from Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.

But Umtiti’s days are too few and far between, and Everton may not even get the chance to strike a deal with the centre-half recently confirming that his desire to stay in Catalunya was far too strong for him to walk away and return to Lyon this summer.

“Everything was possible during the transfer window. Lyon is my club and my city. They gave me the opportunity to be seen,” Umtiti told Canal +. “There were discussions, but it was quick, nothing concrete. I had to be able to speak with a club. I’ll be honest: Barcelona is Barcelona. I don’t want to leave Barcelona and even less like that.

“The last two years have been the most complicated of my career. Sometimes I got really sick of it. I relapsed each time, and with different injuries because I was trying to compensate. It wasn’t a knee problem, it was that I had a total imbalance. I had to start over.”

Umtiti’s relentless injury struggles would only serve to see the Toffees throw their cash into the wind rather than toward signing those who could improve Ancelotti’s squad, as the Italian would likely, more often than not, be without the centre-half who started just 10 of 13 La Liga appearances last term.

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Source: Football – Football Fan Cast