Carles Puyol has hailed the expected Barcelona signing of Samuel Umititi, as he believes the French international has the perfect skills to fit into the Catalans passing game.
The club legend has backed the Lyon defender to finally put an end to the debate over the centre-back position, which has existed at Nou Camp ever since Puyol decided to hang up his boots.
Barcelona have signed a number of centre-backs in recent transfer windows in a bid to fill the huge gap left by the former Spanish international. Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu were recruited from Arsenal and Valencia respectively in the summer of 2014 to cope with the former captain departure.
However, the duo have, so far, failed to make the impact expected in his first two campaigns at the club. Javier Mascherano has been forced to adapt to a new role along Gerard Pique in the hearth of the defence, despite originally being a midfielder.
Consequently, the club have, again, been on the hunt for a new centre-back in the current transfer window and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed last week that Umtiti is the chosen one.
The club chief revealed they have reached a €25m (£21.2m, $27.8m) agreement for the Lyon defender to complete his move to Nou Camp after Euro 2016. This way, should the Frenchman agree personal terms and passes the medical he would become the Catalans second signing of the summer. Earlier this week the club confirmed the return of Denis Suarez from Villarreal.
Some have questioned the arrival of Umtiti after the Lyon centre-back enjoyed a shaky performance in his international debut during the France 5-2 victory over Iceland on Sunday (3 July). However, Puyol has given his blessing to the signing to complement the Barcelona back-line.
"He is a very technical defender, with good skills to shape the game from the back and a positive aggressiveness which allows him to arrive (to the ball) ahead of the rivals," Puyol said to Mundo Deportivo.
"Samuel Umtiti has a good passing game which is a very important skill for the Barcelona style, because they need to build the game from the back. He will be a very good complement to Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu," he said.
"I hope Umtiti adapts quickly to La Liga and the Barcelona game because it is very different to the French league. For a defender who arrived from a different club, adapting to the Barcelona game could be difficult at the beginning. But I see him with good conditions. Let's see if we can finally end the debate over the Barcelona centre-backs once and for all. "
The arrival of Umititi is also expected to cover the departure of Marc Bartra to Borussia Dortmund. Puyol, who is currently the agent of the former academy defender, has also justified the decision of his client to leave Nou Camp in order to secure more playing time.
"Marc Bartra has not had the continuity we thought because he had very good centre-backs ahead of him. He had the opportunity to go to a great team (Borussia Dortmund) and [the move] is a very good decision. I think he can become into one of the best European centre-backs."