Barcelona centre-back set to join French giants as a free-agent

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Barcelona are expected to endure a few busy weeks ahead as they look to not only land their top targets but also sanction the exit of unwanted stars.

Barcelona have already offloaded Philippe Coutinho to Aston Villa in a €20 million deal. And according to Mundo Deportivo, Samuel Umtiti could be the next player to leave Camp Nou, with Rennes closing in on his capture.

The report suggests the Ligue 1 outfit are in pole position to sign Umtiti, many thanks to the involvement of Bruno Genesio. The Rennes manager had worked with the Barcelona defender during their time at Lyon and he knows the player well.

Genesio’s role at Rennes has played a key role in convincing Umtiti to join the club ahead of the new season. The French outfit hope to finalise the finer details of the contract, and if everything goes well, they can officiate the transfer within the week.

Umtiti’s current contract at Barcelona does not expire until 2026, but the player is expected to hand in a letter of freedom. It would enable Rennes to sign him on a free transfer, essentially helping them avoid paying any transfer fee for the defender.

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Umtiti’s return to France could put an end to his six-year spell at Barcelona that saw him make 132 competitive appearances for the club.

Although Umtiti had struggled with injuries and had lost his prominence in the team in recent years, his contributions at the back had played a key role in Barcelona’s success over the past six years.

During his time at Camp Nou, the Frenchman has notably won two La Liga and three Copa Del Rey titles. He has won two Super Cups as well, and his winning mentality and experience could go a long way in adding freshness to the Rennes backline next season.

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