West Ham interested in 26-year-old Barcelona star – A big addition by the Hammers?


Why Samuel Umtiti to West Ham would bolster their defence

According to El Mundo Deportivo (h/t Daily Mail), West Ham are interested in signing Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti in the summer.

Having risen through the ranks at Lyon, Umtiti, 26, went on to establish himself as a key figure of the French outfit for five years. After making 170 appearances for Lyon, he earned a move to the Catalan club, where he became an instant hit alongside Gerrard Pique at the heart of Barcelona’s defence, helping them lift several trophies, including two La Liga titles.

The defender was also a significant member of the French squad which won the World Cup in 2018. However, since then, he has dropped down the pecking order at Camp Nou due to the major injuries he endured.

And now, compatriot Clement Lenglet has taken his spot under Quique Setien. Thus, West Ham should take advantage of his situation and bring him to East London in the summer. But they need to beat off competition from Arsenal and Everton, who are also interested in him as per the report.

Samuel Umtiti played a key part in France's World Cup win 2018 (Getty Images)
Samuel Umtiti played a key part in France’s World Cup win 2018 (Getty Images)

The Hammers have done enough to secure top-flight status and manager David Moyes has once again delivered at the right time. With 10 wins and 19 losses, West Ham finished the league in 16th position but they have been inconsistent throughout the campaign.

Thus, to avoid that, the manager needs to work on several key areas. He needs to bring in reinforcements and form a strong squad for next season and aim to finish in the top half of the table.

Umtiti could provide West Ham with stability in defence

One area the manager should focus on strengthening is the backline. The Hammers have conceded 62 this term, which is poor according to their standards. Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna are the two main central defenders and they haven’t been at their best.

Paraguay international Fabian Balbuena has featured in just 17 games and hasn’t yet convinced the manager to become a regular starter. Apart from them, they have only Goncalo Cardoso in their ranks but the youngster hasn’t featured in a single league game this season and lacks experience. Thus, the Hammers need to bring in an experienced centre-back in the summer if they are to do better and progress.

Samuel Umtiti ha struggled with injuries in the last few seasons (Getty Images)
Samuel Umtiti ha struggled with injuries in the last few seasons (Getty Images)

To that end, Umtiti would be a massive signing for the club. The French international has featured in just 13 league games this season but he has already proven his mettle for both club and country. He has made over 280 appearances so far and his experience could come in handy for Moyes next season.

Umtiti is arguably one of the best centre-backs in Europe in terms of talent and is capable of producing his best given he stays away from injuries. Given his performances when he was in good shape, West Ham can expect him to be their leader at the back. And with regular game time, he could prove to be a difference in their defensive unit.

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At 26, the former Lyon man has won almost everything in football and his winning mentality could be a huge bonus for the Hammers, who are in dire need of established centre-backs. They also need to bring in a replacement for Ogbonna, who is already 32 and reaching the twilight of his career. Thus, attempting a move for the World Cup winner would be a smart decision by the club.