Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is plotting a surprise January move for Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti, according to reports.
City missed out to Liverpool for the signature of Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk – who joined the Reds for a whopping £75 million – and Guardiola will now turn his attention to Umtiti instead.
The Frenchman is rated at over £50 million by the Catalan club, however Guardiola is hopeful he can secure the highly rated young defender’s signature as he looks to bolster his options in central defence.
The Citizens are short of numbers at the back, despite having invested well over £100 million on defensive talent during the summer.
Injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Vincent Kompany mean Guardiola has been left with only five defenders to choose from in Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Danilo, Kyle Walker and Elaquim Mangala.
The Spaniard has even resorted to playing midfielder Fabian Delph as a make shift full-back – although the Englishman has been excellent at left-back since his switch of position.
Umtiti, 24, joined Barcelona in the summer of 2016 from Ligue 1 side Lyon, and has since been a regular for the Catalan giants, helping them win the Copa Del Rey last season.
In his season-and-a-half spell with Barca, the France international has made 62 appearances, scoring one goal, although missed the whole of December through injury.