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Barcelona loan injury-plagued French World Cup winner Umtiti to Lecce


Rome (AFP) – French international Samuel Umtiti bedevilled by injuries and a loss of form since winning the 2018 World Cup has been sent on a season long loan to Serie A side Lecce by Barcelona.

The 28-year-old defender is due to undergo a medical later on Thursday at Lecce, who won Serie B title last season.

“Barcelona and Lecce of Italian Serie A have reached an agreement on the loan of defender Samuel Umtiti until 30 June 2023,” read a statement on the Barcelona website.

“There is no purchase option.”

Spanish sports paper Marca reported that Lecce and Barcelona will share his salary, but that Barca will get bonus payments depending on games played.

Umtiti was one of the players Barcelona wished to offload before the end of the transfer window on September 1 so they get under the pay cap and register new signing Jules Kounde.

Umtiti played an important role in France’s World Cup triumph despite a troublesome knee. He scored the only goal in the semi-final win over Belgium.

A succession of injuries saw him fall down the pecking order at Barcelona and last season played just once in December.

In January, he underwent an operation on a broken foot and in his six years since joining from Lyon, Unmtiti has played just 133 times for Barcelona, scoring twice.

He still managed to win seven trophies including two Liga titles and three Copas del Rey.   

His international career has suffered too. He made the last of his 31 appearances in a 2-0 loss to Turkey in 2019.

Lecce have lost their first two matches since their return to the elite for their 17th season in Serie A. 

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