Tottenham could be the beneficiaries after Barcelona threatened to take drastic action over a star in order to accelerate a much-needed transfer, per a report.
Barcelona’s financial strife has been well documented over the past few weeks. Club president Joan Laporta delivered further bad news recently when announcing the club’s debt had soared to €1.35 billion (£1.15 billion).
That constituted a rise of £170m since January, and their issues could continue to spiral out of control if their enormous wage bill is not significantly reduced.
Lionel Messi was by far the highest-profile departure when leaving for PSG on a free. However, the Argentine will not be the last to leave the Camp Nou.
The bulk of Barcelona’s squad are up for sale in a desperate attempt to wrest control of their finances. And according to the Express, one player they are trying to force out could grab the attentions of Tottenham.
French centre-half Samuel Umtiti is the player in question, with Spurs known to be on the hunt for a second signing in the position following Cristian Romero’s arrival from Atalanta.
The 27-year-old would reportedly be available for a ‘cut-price’ fee. That’s because shifting his wages from the books is of greater interest to Barcelona than generating a large transfer fee.
Citing Spanish outlet SPORT, the article reveals Barcelona have made several attempts to push Umtiti out this summer.
Umtiti is said to have rejected a series of approaches from Ligue 1 clubs, leaving Barcelona ‘very angry’ at his unwillingness to aid their cause.
It’s claimed the club are even considering terminating his contract to resolve the issue. That would be a last resort, though they have already taken that drastic approach this summer when terminating Matheus Fernandes’s contract in June.
A sale would appear far more likely, and the Express claim Tottenham could revive the interest they had during the 2020 summer window.
Serie A pair Nikola Milenkovic and Takehiro Tomiyasu have been touted as potential Tottenham signings in the position. Additionally, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma recently came onto their radar, though John Terry gave that move short shrift.
But a deal the Umtiti would appear to be there for the making. And his experience operating at the highest level at both club and international football could appeal.
Tottenham chasing Portuguese title-winner
Meanwhile, Tottenham are still in the transfer hunt for Joao Palhinha amid the chance of a pay rise for the midfielder at Sporting Lisbon, a report claims.
Palhinha, who is Portuguese like Nuno Espirito Santo, has had strong links with a transfer to north London. He has also had links with a new contract for some time, despite his current terms only expiring in 2025.
According to A Bola (via Sport Witness), Sporting are happy whichever decision their Euro 2020 star makes. Indeed, they would like to keep Palhinha but are used to selling top talent every summer.
The source says that Palhinha now has a €60million (£51million) release clause. However, Sporting will accept a bid of between €30million (£26million) and €40million (£34million).
Spurs could yet make such an approach. But if he does not leave, Palhinha will earn a lucrative 25 per cent pay rise alongside a new contract.
That would reward him for his efforts in midfield which have reportedly attracted Tottenham’s attention.