The Rise of Samuel Umtiti

Note: This is a post by our new writer Yazdan Basir. You can congratulate [or argue with] him on Twitter at 

He blogs as ThoughtBox. Check out his previous work here.


If I ask you to name Luis Enrique’s best signing for Barcelona you’ll most likely to answer Luis Suarez.

A rare breed might say Marc-Andre Ter Stegen instead. And while you’re not wrong and it’s your opinion, the point here is that none of you will say Samuel Umtiti, a player whose rise to Barcelona’s and France’s starting eleven has been absolutely phenomenal. A signing made with the future in mind.

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Match Review: Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona (Paco and Aleix!)

A match between Barcelona and the opposition from the north is always sure to be a good one. With Paco Alcácer starting in place of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar up front, the midfield was made up of André Gomes, Arda Turan, and Rafinha. The defense included Aleix Vidal, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu. With Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, the match was off.

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Should Umtiti get more time?

Disclaimer right away: This article is by no means a criticism of Javier Mascherano. He is a living legend at the club and one of my favorite players ever. The six years he’s been a member of the team have been fruitful – 18 trophies – and he’s been a great contributor to winning. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty defensively and has brought grit to our back line. But he’s essentially been playing out of position for six years. Which is why it’s not blasphemy, in my opinion, to suggest he ought to be replaced by Samuel Umtiti. 

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Umtiti is the real deal

Barcelona have started July by announcing Samuel Umtiti and Denis Suárez as the club’s first summer signings ahead of the 2016-17 season. Although culés did have an idea of Denis’ game, with the Galician having starred with Barça B in 2014, Umtiti’s capture for €25 million did raise a few eyebrows, given that the Frenchman was an unknown quality to many.

That’s exactly why Thursday’s EURO 2016 semifinal meeting between Umtiti’s France and world champions Germany was mightily important to Umtiti’s future in the blaugrana shirt. In his second start for the national side, Umtiti literally had 90 minutes to win the hearts of the most demanding set of fans in the world. And boy how well he did.

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Two years in, Luis Enrique needs to begin planning for the future

With the signing of Samuel Umtiti, the return of Denis Suárez, and the imminent renewal of Javier Mascherano, Barça fans seem relatively happy about the start of the transfer window so far. While the rest of the window may yield a different conclusion, these first few signings hint at an interesting question: is Luis Enrique finally ready to plan for Barça’s long-term future?

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