Barcelona fear Manchester United and Manchester City could meet Samuel Umtiti’s £50million release clause.
The Daily Mail claims Virgil van Dijk’s £75m move from Southampton to Liverpool has now opened the possibility of a big-money Premier League switch for Umtiti, 24.
The France star has become an important first-team player at the Nou Camp, displacing Javier Mascherano and forcing the veteran to seek out a move to China.
But Umtiti has a £50m release clause in his contract, which at the time of his signing seemed plenty – but in this current climate looks like a bargain.
Van Dijk’s Anfield switch has made him the most expensive defender in world football.
And it now shows that big clubs are willing to spend huge fees usually reserved for attackers on top centre-backs and full-backs.
Barca apparently believe City and United could both try their luck for Umtiti, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
City are in the market for a new centre-back after being linked with Van Dijk as well as Jonny Evans and Inigo Martinez.
Meanwhile, United have seen Eric Bailly undergo ankle surgery and may be searching for reinforcements.
Their reported interest could force Barcelona into offering Umtiti a new contract with a higher release clause, which the defender is likely to sign given his role in the team’s title-chasing season.