The story of Samuel Umtiti is a bittersweet one. Everyone has heard of how he risked his career by battling through injury at the 2018 World Cup, playing an integral role in a France side that eventually lifted the Jules Rimet trophy.
The World Cup campaign took its toll, however, and Umtiti struggled for years after. He didn’t start more than 13 league games in any season for Barcelona after the World Cup and only started seven league games in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons combined. It was clear that he needed a change to put his career back on track, and that is where Italian outfit Lecce came in.
Having been promoted from Serie B last season, Lecce were looking for quality, at a cheap price. They managed to lure Umtiti on loan for the season, and it’s fair to say that it paid off.
Umtiti started the season with some difficulty, starting games on the bench at his new club. But since November he has been a mainstay in the starting eleven and has proved his worth. The Frenchman started 24 league games and helped guide Lecce to survival in their first season back in Serie A, where they eventually finished in 16th place.
Umtiti proved that he is still a player who can compete and at 29 years old, can still bring a lot to the table. Relevo are reporting that the centre-back will definitely leave Barcelona, but he will not be returning to Lecce. Besiktas are the club rumoured to be most interested in him. Lyon are also keeping tabs, as well as a few Serie A clubs.
Japtej Ghura | GSFN