Barcelona are keen to move centre-back Samuel Umtiti out of the club in an effort to slash a crippling wage bill, even if that means potentially having to accept a cut price transfer fee, sending him out on loan for a year, or releasing him from his contract altogether.
Unless Umtiti and others, such as Philippe Coutinho and Miralem Pjanic, leave Camp Nou, Barça will not have sufficient room in accordance with La Liga’s salary cap rules to officially register new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, or offer Lionel Messi a new contract.
The 27-year-old won the World Cup with France as a starter in 2018, although he has struggled with persistent knee injuries and has only played 40 league games in three seasons since.
However, the 2018 arrival of Clement Lenglet and the more recent emergence of La Masia graduate Oscar Mingueza have also served to limit his game time even when fit.
If a club is willing to take a gamble on Umtiti’s fitness with the belief they can suitably manage it and provide him the opportunities to play he was denied in the second half of last season in particular, he could still be a valuable addition to any defensive unit in need of strengthening.
Should Umtiti be particularly interested in staying in Spain, Valencia could do with help at the back as conceding too many goals is the reason they have finished ninth and 13th in La Liga since last qualifying for the Champions League in 2019.
The current squad is light on centre-backs, with former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista, former France Under-21 international Mouctar Diakhaby and 21-year-old Hugo Guillamon the only options.
Having seen Lille end a 10-year Ligue 1 title drought last season, Marseille are inspired to end their own drought since 2010. The club has already been ambitious in the transfer market by signing Gerson, Konrad de la Fuente and Cengiz Under in attacking areas.
They've also brought in Matteo Guendouzi and are expected to seal the loan of William Saliba from Arsenal too, and Umtiti could represent a more experienced option among the young heads.
Improving defensively is going to have to be a key feature of Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Everton if the Toffees are to improve under their new coach and rise into European contention.
Benitez previously utilised a 3-4-3 formation at Newcastle when games called for it and such a system could favour Umtiti and Everton’s other centre-backs more than a flat back four, especially with wing-backs like Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman to flank them.
Spurs want at least one new centre-back this summer, ideally two. They have already been in talks over several potential deals, including Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jannik Vestergaard, while new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has also asked the club to approach Wolves captain Conor Coady.
But Umtiti, a two-time La Liga champion, could bring a different kind of experience to north London.
With the departure of David Luiz at the end of last season, Arsenal lack top level experience in central defence, where the current options are Gabriel, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers. Kieran Tierney can be added to that in a back three system.
Ben White is the preferred target but Umtiti has the experience and has been linked with the Gunners in the past. Everton are also in for White and Umtiti could be an alternative for either.
Arsenal officials are prepared to sanction a big summer spending spree if players they target are 25 or younger and have potential to improve and increase in value. Umtiti doesn’t fit that profile, although the possible lack of a vast transfer fee could still have some appeal.