Madrid (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella has admitted his French defender Clement Lenglet has the talent to play for a club like Barcelona.
Lenglet has been one of Sevilla’s stand-out players this season, with Barca reported to be interested in signing the 22-year-old this summer.
Samuel Umtiti is yet to extend his contract at the Camp Nou while Lenglet’s release clause, reported to be set at around 35 million euros ($43 million), is relatively modest in today’s transfer market.
Barca will get a closer look at Lenglet when the clubs face each other in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final and on Monday, Montella hardly dampened rumours of a transfer.
“He is a champion mentally even more than he is physically on the field – in the future he can play for a big team like Barcelona,” Montella said.
“I hope that at some point it happens for him but I also hope that Sevilla will enjoy him for some years yet. The rumours don’t bother me, absolutely not.”
Before this weekend’s showpiece at the Wanda Metropolitano, Sevilla travel to struggling Deportivo La Coruna on Tuesday in La Liga and Barcelona are away to Celta Vigo.
While Barca, 11 points clear at the top of the table, can afford to rest players, Sevilla are in a race for Europa League qualification, sitting seventh, a point behind Villarreal in sixth.
But Sevilla’s Champions League exit to Bayern Munich was followed by a pulsating 2-2 draw at home to Villarreal on Saturday, games Montella says have taken their toll.
“Some of the players need to rest because they made a big effort on Saturday, Wednesday and the other week – not because we have the final,” Montella said.