Samuel Umtiti's future at Barcelona has been thrown further into uncertainty after the latest gossip from Spain is claiming that the Catalans are no longer rushing to tie the centre-back down to a new contract, while it has even been reported that he could wind up at Real Madrid.
Umtiti, who arrived at Camp Nou from Lyon after an impressive Euro 2016, is currently contracted to Barça until June 2021 and has a relatively modest €60m buyout clause.
It was thought that the club were desperate to offer him improved terms and raise that clause, which if triggered could see him leave at the drop of a hat, especially with Manchester United said to be very interested as they are in the market for new defenders this summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo (MD), Barça have ended their hurry to renew Umtiti's deal and negotiations will only continue for less money than the Frenchman was originally asking for.
It would appear that Barça were 'bothered' by interviews that Umtiti gave in France during the March international break. Apparently, the player had become aware that he had rubbed the club up the wrong way and tried to make amends by kissing the badge when he scored during the first leg of the Champions League badge against Roma last week.
That gesture may have been futile as MD claims it hasn't made up for such poor performances in his three most recent games. For that reason, it is said that the metaphorical ball is no longer in his court when it comes to contract talks.
Where Barça may encounter a problem is with the alleged growing interest in Umtiti from elsewhere. Rumours about Manchester United are well established, but Don Balon is now saying that Real Madrid will look to swoop and the contract standoff will only serve to 'accelerate' a proposed switch from Catalonia to the capital.
Don Balon even claims that Umtit's advisers have already had 'very serious conversations' with Real president Florentino Perez about a deal that would see him move this summer. MeanwhileBarça have been heavily linked with Dayot Upamecano, who could be seen as a replacement.