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Prospect: Samuel Umtiti

One of France’s most overlooked young talents at the moment, Lyon’s defender has certainly been turning our heads. Wayne of Transfer News Central tells you all you need to know about the French starlet: Samuel Umtiti of Lyon is one of the hottest prospects around France at the moment. Looking at his career at age of 19, it’s extremely short with 2 clubs under his belt. Umtiti is a 19-year old that most of you know from Lyon’s Europa League clash with Tottenham Hotspur. I could have written this scout report with only his goal against Tottenham in it, but he has other attributes and additions to him. Umtiti is also a one team man (so far), with Lyon since 2001 progressing from youth local club Menival.

Umtiti appeared in 12 professional matches in 2011/12 season, under the guidance of Claude Puel but was still at a premature age of 17. Gaining trust quickly he appeared 3 times in the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France. This year, Umtiti is a regular starter for Lyon appearing in 26 matches with 2 goals so far, including that screamer against Tottenham Hotspur.

Samuel Umtiti’s main position is centre-back but this season he showed he was capable of playing as a left back with 15 appearances in both positions. When you ask people about Samuel Umtiti they always tell you they love his ability to hold on to the ball. One of his major attributes is that Umtiti is a serious player when it comes to defending at age of 19. The reason he isn’t active when it comes to his attacking side is he isn’t a risk-taker. When you look at his positions throughout the pitch he always remains in the box. He won’t take a tackle or intercept outside of his zone as he isn’t that type of player.  The wonderful side of it is he can surely improve because when he comes out of the box he assures winning the ball. It’s not an easy thing to tackle at such a young age. Looking at his strengths he is a magnificent accurate passer with 81% average pass accuracy this season (916/1137) and 43.7 average passes per match. He is also a fan of duels with 70% completed despite his physique.

He’s also known for his reading of the game as he always seems to track his opposition well. He studies what possible way he can start an attack right from his position without leaving the defence zone. Looking at the stats he has 2.5 interceptions and 5.9 clearances per game on average which is pretty transcendent for his age. He is always careful of his surroundings and always seems to seize the situation quickly – something I extol of the player. Umtiti is also pretty good when it comes to man marking, as it clearly shows who he is targeting in every match. He sticks to the player and doesn’t rest his sight. It comes to a point when the opposition ignore passing by Umtiti, as he always looks for the dangerous player and succeeds at it every time. You can brand him as a ‘solid’ and ‘serious’ defender and he has a bright future ahead of him.

Samuel Umtiti is attracting interest from Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Manchester United, and Newcastle United in the Premier League. Earlier in March, Umtiti commented on the interest from Serie A club AC Milan

“I am flattered by the interest of such a big team like Milan but I am playing at a big team in France. Milan is exciting because they are building to be great again.”

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