FC Barcelona had initially included centre-back Samuel Umtiti in their list of first-team players to be sold this summer. However, the Frenchman has put up a fight and has impressed manager Ronald Koeman.
Umtiti has not had a great run in the past few years at Barcelona, having spent numerous weeks on the sidelines due to injuries. When Barcelona drew up a list of valuable players that they needed to offload this summer, his name was always one of those that came up.
The financial crisis has forced the club to put many of their high earners on the market, as they scramble to find a way to slash their wage bill and meet La Liga Santander's salary cap. After missing 63 games over the past three seasons, Umtiti was shown the exit door.
In recent weeks, Blaugrana sporting director Mateu Alemany has confirmed that Umtiti and teammate Miralem Pjanic are up for sale. However, the Frenchman may have just found a way to get back in the club's plans for the future.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo has claimed that Koeman has been impressed by Umtiti's performances during the pre-season. He is described to be "fit, agile, quick and strong" during training as well as during his appearances for the club in pre-season friendly matches against Nastic and Girona.
The 27-year-old has been making an effort to show Koeman that he still has a lot to offer the club, putting him back with a chance to stay. If Koeman decides to keep him, then the club will need to find a way to offload someone else. Right now, they have not had much success in their attempts to slash their wage bill for next season.
The La Liga season starts in two weeks, and the club is desperate to get below the salary cap in order to register new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson. Furthermore, Lionel Messi's new contract is still pending, even though he has reportedly already agreed to a 50% salary reduction.