Newcastle could still sign Samuel Umtiti this month despite Barcelona contract extension

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Newcastle still reportedly have the chance to sign Samuel Umtiti, despite the Frenchman signing a contract extension at Barcelona. The Magpies were thought to be interested in Umtiti as Eddie Howe looks to improve the quality of his defence.

Their backline has conceded 42 goals already this season, enough for the joint-worst record in the Premier League.

Howe has already began improving the quality of his options by signing Atletico Madrid and England centre-back Kieran Trippier.

But centre-back remains a serious weakness in Newcastle’s squad, with doubts around whether his current players have the quality required.

Their defensive issues have left them in serious trouble in the battle to escape relegation, with the Magpies currently second bottom.

Though they are only two points from safety, Howe needs recruits quickly if he is to steer Newcastle away from the bottom three.

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World Cup winner Umtiti is one defender who has been linked with helping Howe to boost his squad.

The Frenchman has played just one game in all competitions this season, having failed to convince Ronald Koeman or Xavi to put him in their first-team plans at Barcelona.

But the La Liga giants made the surprise announcement on Monday that they had handed him a three-year contract extension.

While that was done mainly so that they could register new signing Ferran Torres, it did appear to be a serious blow to Newcastle’s hopes of buying him.

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Umtiti would surely be a regular starter for Howe at St James’ Park, with the Frenchman a clear upgrade on Newcastle’s existing options.

Signing the Barca defender could also become a priority for the Magpies, with Sven Botman proving far harder to bring in.

By contrast, his status as an outcast means that Umtiti should be much easier to recruit, while Barca’s much-documented financial issues means they would welcome an exit.

With Newcastle struggling to bring in the targets on their shortlist, the second chance they have with Umtiti will be a welcome boost for Howe.

But RMC Sport report that the new contract does not necessarily mean that Umtiti will end the season as a Barca player.

It is stated that Umtiti is keen to ‘return to the pitch’ after a dismal first-half of the season which has seen him fail to have an impact under Xavi.

A loan move is said to be ‘under discussion’, with English, Spanish and Italian clubs all interested and are ‘positioning’ themselves for a move.

The news of Umtiti’s unhappiness at the Nou Camp would appear to open the door to Newcastle returning to make a move.

Umtiti would surely be a regular starter for Howe at St James’ Park, with the Frenchman a clear upgrade on Newcastle’s existing options.

Signing the Barca defender could also become a priority for the Magpies, with Sven Botman proving far harder to bring in.

By contrast, his status as an outcast means that Umtiti should be much easier to recruit, while Barca’s much-documented financial issues means they would welcome an exit.

With Newcastle struggling to bring in the targets on their shortlist, the second chance they have with Umtiti will be a welcome boost for Howe.

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