Newcastle United were linked at the weekend with a move for Samuel Umtiti in the summer.
Newcastle were said to have watched the Lyon centre-back (can also play left-back) regularly this season and are continuing to monitor him, having been impressed watching him play alongside Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, with Lyon now rising to third place in Ligue 1.
As a follow up to this transfer speculation, over in France Foot 01 approached Yannick Umtiti who is the brother of the 22 year old Lyon player and acts as Samuel Umtiti’s representative.
Yannick Umtiti confirmed interest on the part of Newcastle and that agents acting for them had been in touch in February to discuss a potential summer transfer. Though he was keen to stress that no offer had yet been made and his brother was really happy at his club – which is par for the course.
“I was contacted in recent weeks by English agents (on behalf of the Magpies) who discussed the idea of Newcastle.
“But honestly, not a single concrete offer has been made at this point by an English club…
“We would consider an offer from Newcastle and the interest of other clubs who will eventually position themselves this summer.
“But we prefer overwhelmingly the best footballing project, which today appears at least to me to be the one offered by Lyon.”
Whilst Samuel Umtiti has his brother acting as a representative, it is though interesting to also note that ultimately he would be represented by the agency he is contracted to, if there was any transfer talks of substance to be discussed.
That agency is Mondial Sports Management, the same agency who represent a ridiculously large proportion of the bigger signings Newcastle have made in recent seasons, including Aleksandar Mitrovic, Florian Thauvin, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko.
Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon but has opted to play for France, for whom he is also eligible to represent, and has played at various youth levels and is tipped to shortly get his first full cap.
However, a lot could rest on how Ligue 1 ends up at the end of the season.
In France, with the exception of PSG all the clubs are massively reliant on Champions League qualification in order to try and keep their best players, with the Ligue 1 TV deals a fraction of the Premier League.
In addition, the current levels of tax for high earners in France makes it even more attractive for players to move to England, so don’t expect any end to Newcastle’s ongoing interest on players from the other side of the Channel…