Umtiti and Riqui Puig, the endless story

Umtiti and Riqui Puig, the endless story

Samuel Umtiti (c), during a Barça training. / Pau BARRENA / AFP


Both players, who do not count for Xavi, were on the starting ramp and their destination clubs have backed down

Samuel Umtiti and Riqui Puig are one more summer a problem for Barça. The French central defender and the culé youth squad started as two of Xavi Hernández's discards for the preseason, they were looking for a way out, but in both cases the options have been moving away as the days have progressed. Rennes and Porto, the two destinations that seemed clearer, have backed down and have ruled out two signings.

"The Umtiti transfer folder is on hold and now we are working on other solutions," Florian Maurice assured this week. The words of the sports director of Rennes have sat like a jug of cold water in the offices of Barcelona. The French team was the great hope for the Catalans to manage, this time, to find a solution so that Umtiti would not spend another year losing market value. The ex-Lyon player was one of the central defenders that the red-and-blacks were considering to reinforce the defense in the form of a transfer, an operation that, given the impossibility of achieving a sale due to the player's high salary, was to the liking of the Barça board.

The entire operation has gone to waste and the reason could have been the mistrust of Bruno Genesio, Rennes coach. The technician, who already coincided with Umtiti at Lyon when he was second deputy, does not trust the physical condition of the center-back and has made it known to the team's leadership. “We may not agree on certain issues. We have known each other for enough time to be able to exchange opinions calmly, "acknowledged Florian Maurice when asked about that discrepancy regarding the signing of the culé footballer.


The operation with Rennes was an exit that in Barcelona they already considered practically closed. The negotiations between the two clubs were so advanced that the footballer himself had already traveled to France to close an agreement that was almost complete while waiting for the signature. The Catalans now face their third consecutive summer trying to find a destination for Umtiti. In 2020, the center-back had his march to Rome agreed between both entities but the footballer flatly refused to leave the club, while in 2021 he maintained that position to the point of agreeing with the club a renewal in which he accepted a reduction in 10% and divide the more than 22 million euros that remained to be received in four years. The Umtiti soap opera continues and is already in season 3.

Riqui Puig, the rejected

Another problem that is on its way to becoming entrenched in Barcelona this summer is the departure of Riqui Puig. The youth squad had accepted this summer that he should leave the culé club but he has found one after another different refusals from the teams that could be on the radar of his representative, Arturo Canales. The midfielder from Matadepera found himself as soon as the market began with the refusal of Benfica, which is led by Roger Schmidt, a coach who already wanted him for PSV Eindhoven, then with the no of Fiorentina and finally with the goodbye of Porto. The Portuguese have finally ruled out signing him, according to the media outlet 'A Bola', because he is not the player profile that Sérgio Conceição needs for his squad.

All this traffic jam has led to Xavi finding himself in the preseason with more players than he had planned. Umtiti and Riqui Puig have no offers, but neither does Óscar Mingueza, whose main suitor has been a Monza that is not willing to pay the five million euros that Barcelona demands. There are also no solutions at the moment for Pjanic and Braithwaite, two footballers who also do not count for the Tarrasa coach but who already made it clear during the summer that they remain firm in their decision to fulfill their contract as Blaugranas.

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