Barcelona came for Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti. PSG responded by threatening to trigger Neymar’s €222M release clause and working behind the scenes to woo the player’s father. They succeeded in holding on to Verratti, and it appears they may be successful in signing Neymar, too.
Now Liverpool should follow their lead, because Barcelona have a centre half with a low buyout clause on middling wages—in large part due to the broken wage structure at the Catalan club, who pay their biggest stars outsized salaries and then have little left for less established first team regulars.
Barcelona have Samuel Umtiti, a 23-year-old French international who started 43 total games for the Spanish club last season, on a low-paying contract with a bargain £52M release clause. For a player of his calibre in the current market, that should interest any big club looking for a centre half.
As for why Umtiti might consider going to Liverpool if they did trigger his release clause, well, right now he’s only making £40k per week at Barcelona. Liverpool would triple that without blinking for a payer who would be a top two defender for them. They could probably even quadruple it.
The lure of Barcelona may be strong, but if PSG can convince Neymar to seriously entertain leaving them this summer—Neymar, who is making £250k per week—then some of Barcelona’s issues, some of their structural problems, may be worse even than they appear to the outside world.
More than that, at the end of the day money talks. Umtiti is making a little more than £2M a year right now, while Liverpool could easily turn that into £6-7M. Money talks, Liverpool need a centre half, and PSG have shown even Barcelona’s headliners can be convinced to leave them this year.
And so Liverpool should trigger Samuel Umtiti’s release clause. It’s not even a move they should make as a response to Barca’s Coutinho bid, though on an emotional level there would obviously be some satisfaction in such an act of score-settling. No, it’s a move they should make because it makes sense.
With a reasonable release clause and low wages, with Liverpool needing a centre half and finding themselves stonewalled by Southampton over Virgil van Dijk, they should trigger Samuel Umtiti’s £52M release clause, offer him a pay packet of around £140k per week, and see what happens.