(Reuters) – Barcelona’s French defender Samuel Umtiti will join Serie A side Lecce on loan until the end of the season, the Spanish club announced on Thursday.
The 28-year-old, who won the World Cup in 2018, will hope to get his career back on track after injuries restricted him to only 35 appearances in the last three seasons combined. He played only one game in the last campaign.
Umtiti is expected to undergo a medical on Friday before putting pen to paper on his contract that has no option to buy, according to Barcelona.
Umtiti arrived at Barcelona in the summer of 2016 from Olympique Lyonnais and was an important first-team player, making just under 100 appearances in his first three seasons with the club, before recurring knee injuries hampered his progress.
His latest misfortune occurred in January, when he broke a bone in his foot during a training session.
Off-loading Umtiti’s large contract from the books was crucial for Barcelona as the club work to comply with LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules in order to register new signing Jules Kounde.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay are also reportedly on their way out as the club try to make room for Kounde before the end of the summer transfer window on Aug. 31.
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)