Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea have suffered a massive blow in their ongoing pursuit of signing Samuel Umtiti as the Lyon defender is edging closer towards completing his switch to Barcelona. The 22-year-old has already made over 150 appearances and his form has attracted interest from England and across Europe.
In April, Mauricio Pochettino confirmed his side were interested in the France international. On the Lyon star, Tottenham manager said: "Umtiti is one of the players that our recruitment department is following. He has interesting potential."
According to talkSPORT, Barcelona have won the race for the centre-back's services, who is set to sign a deal in the coming days. The La Liga winners are expected to pay a fee of £24m ($34m) to Lyon for the defender's services.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo reported Chelsea and Arsenal were also keen on securing the Lyon player's signature. Incoming Blues manager Antonio Conte even assured him of a place in the starting lineup, while Arsene Wenger's side have closely followed the defender for several months.
Luis Enrique has Gerard Pique and Argentina international Javier Mascherano as the first choice central defenders in the squad. Marc Bartra left Camp Nou and completed his switch to Borussia Dortmund and this has seen the Barcelona manager bring in a player in that position.
The Spanish coach wants to bring in competition in the squad and thus has made signing a centre-back a top priority in the summer transfer window. Umtiti is likely to challenge Mascherano for a place in the starting lineup to play alongside Pique.
The Lyon defender is currently with the France squad for the ongoing Euro 2016. Earlier, he had publicly expressed his desire to play for the European giants after admitting his future with his current employers remains uncertain.
"Barcelona are a club where many players would like to play. But I have a contract with Lyon as everyone knows and as we have done this season," Umtiti told L'Equipe, as quoted by beIN Sports
"Everything is possible, both to stay and go. Honestly, for the moment, I am focus[ed] on the European Championship. I want to do the right thing and then we'll talk with my club."