Rennes set to abandon negotiations for Samuel Umtiti

According to Fabrizio Romano, Rennes are set to leave negotiations with Barcelona for Samuel Umtiti (28), after expressing their interest over the last week. The Breton club are said to be pursuing Benfica’s Morato (21) instead.

At the end of June, Bruno Génésio’s club entered into discussions with the Spanish giants over the transfer of the French centre-back to the north-west of France, following the departure of Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd, who joined West Ham.

However, negotiations had stalled yesterday following doubts over the player’s physical state, which has plagued recent years of his career. Indeed, Umtiti made just a single La Liga appearance last season and, since joining Barcelona in 2016, he has been ruled out by injury or illness on 16 occasions and missed a total of 606 days as a result.

Instead, Rennes are said to be pursuing another centre-back, the Brazilian Morato (21), who currently plays with Benfica. The younger defender is likely to be a safer option for the Breton side, who have made an official offer of €10m, as of yesterday.

Romano reports however that Barcelona are still looking to sell the former Lyon and World Cup winning defender, following the departure of Clément Lenglet (27).

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