Serie A heavyweights Roma have placed Barcelona outcast Samuel Umtiti on their shopping list going into the summer transfer window.
After falling out of favour at Spotify Camp Nou, the French defender switched to Italian minnows Lecce on a season-long loan last summer and excelled.
The injuries that plagued his progress at Barcelona have faded this season, allowing the 29-year-old to establish himself as a permanent first-team fixture at Stadio Via del Mare.
Umtiti has made 17 league appearances for Lecce this term, drawing attention from several top Italian clubs, with Inter Milan recently informing the Blaugrana of their interest in the Frenchman.
However, last season’s Serie A runners-up may have to beat Roma to bring the ex-Lyon centre-back to Giuseppe Meazza, according to Spanish outlet Sport.
Despite only recently convincing Chris Smalling to sign a new contract, Jose Mourinho is looking for defensive reinforcements after Marash Kumbulla and Roger Ibranez failed to impress.
The injury-prone 29-year-old may not be the ideal solution for the Giallorossi, but the former France international meets Mourinho’s recruitment criteria.
Since Lecce cannot flex their financial muscle to sign the Barcelona loanee permanently in the summer, Roma could swoop in and hijack Inter’s bid to land the Frenchman.
The Spaniards have no intention of keeping Umtiti as they look to offload all fringe players at the end of the season to balance the books and boost their hopes of bringing Lionel Messi back from Paris Saint-Germain.
But Umtiti, who was the subject of racial abuse during Lecce’s league encounter against Lazio in January, is not the only player on Roma’s shortlist.
They have reportedly reached an agreement in principle to sign Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka.
Ndicka would arrive as a free agent after refusing to pledge his future to the Bundesliga outfit.
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