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Jun 21, 2016

With rumours surfacing surrounding the future of Javier Mascherano in recent weeks, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is on the hunt for fresh defensive options this summer. Lyon’s Samuel Umtiti is the latest name to be linked with a move to the Camp Nou, and if may well not be too long until we see the Frenchman’s arrival in Spain. Despite apparent interest from Premier League duo Chelsea and Arsenal, a deal between the Spanish champions and the French side is said to be close to completion.

Umtiti was named as a reserve by Didier Deschamps for France’s Euro 2016 squad, with the host nations being the 10/3 favourites with bookmakers Coral this summer, and earned rave reviews for his performances in Ligue 1 this past season. A move for PSG’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos has long been muted, however the French champions reluctance to sell has let to interest in Umtiti. Alternatively, to Umtiti however, Las Palmas have recently stated their frustration at Barca’s attempts to sign their young defender Mauricio Lemos. The Spanish giants have had a reported £3million bid turned down.

Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are currently on international duty with Spain, and will certainly be among the first names on the team sheet for Vicente Del Bosque’s side. Alongside club team mates Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, Spain are 4/1 in the football odds from Coral to retain their European title this year. Despite coming under criticism after their sides Champions League exit to rivals Atletico Madrid, Pique and Alba are more than likely to remain in Enrique’s plans for the upcoming season. The expected loss of Dani Alves following eight years at the Camp Nou is only likely to heighten Barca’s need for reinforcements, and despite maybe not being one for the fans to get too excited about, Umtiti would certainly provide much needed cover for the team’s back line.

Elsewhere, former Barca man Pedro Rodriguez has expressed his desire to return to the Camp Nou, just a year after leaving his boyhood club. Having endured a frustrating first season at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, Enrique is reportedly keen to bring Pedro back in order to offer support to the highly successful MSN trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar Jr.

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