Barcelona have been handed a significant fitness boost with the news that star defender Samuel Umtiti is set to return later this month.
The Frenchman has been absent with a knee problem which has limited him to making just eight appearances for the La Liga champions this season, with summer signing Clement Lenglet largely taking his compatriot’s place in defence.
However, the former Sevilla star has generally failed to offer the level of consistency which Umtiti provides at the heart of Barcelona’s back line. According to an update on Barcelona’s official website, Umtiti will return on December 30 under a conservative treatment plan.
The Frenchman has not featured since Barcelona drew 1-1 away to title rivals Atletico Madrid last month – a game in which Umtiti was only just returning to action after suffering from the same knee problem.
The 25-year-old suffered a similar setback once more and has yet to return to the first team fold at the Camp Nou over the course of the Catalan giants’ last seven games.
Barcelona have been in fine form during that period, winning six and drawing one of those outings, most recently recording a 2-0 victory at home to Celta Vigo in La Liga, courtesy of strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi.
Despite not having struggled in Umtiti’s absence, the return of a player of the Frenchman’s stature will still come as a huge boost to Ernesto Valverde’s ranks.
The defender is an automatic first choice when fit and the club have confirmed that Umtiti will continue rehabilitating his knee under a conservative treatment plan after being evaluated by the club’s medical services.
Barcelona’s victory on Saturday was their last outing of 2018, with the Catalan giants now enjoying a winter break before returning to action away to Getafe on the first weekend of the New Year.