By Declan Walsh

19th Aug, 2021 | 6:10pm

Everton make enquiry for Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti

Everton have approached Barcelona with an enquiry about defender Samuel Umtiti ahead of potentially signing the France international before the transfer deadline on August 31, according to the Daily Express.

The newspaper reports [print edition, August 19, page 60] that Barca are looking to sell Umtiti, 27, to help ease the financial crisis at the Nou Camp.

Umtiti was on the fringes of the Barcelona squad last season and started just seven La Liga fixtures.

More reinforcements needed

If we look back at last season, we finished in 10th place in the Premier League.

After the way Carlo Ancelotti’s players started the season, the mid-table finish was so underwhelming and left a lot of question marks hanging over the heads of certain players.

And a lot of those question marks linger over defenders.

Jordan Pickford, as good as he is for England, is erratic and inconsistent for Everton and he needs good protection in front of him to help stem the flow of goals we concede.

On their day, our defenders can be immense but we’ve seen far too many instances like the Michael Keane one on Saturday when he gifted Southampton a goal.

Is Umtiti a major upgrade on what we already have? Or is he too similar to the level of centre-back’s Rafa Benitez has inherited?

It’s really difficult to say but the ex-Lyon centre-back is a two-time La Liga champion and boasts a World Cup winners’ medal with France.

The powerhouse defender, who stands at 6ft tall and is known for his strength, played over 200 times in both Ligue 1 and La Liga and earned 31 senior international caps.

Umtiti ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to experience so he may be worth a punt if Barca agree to a decent transfer fee.

However, matching his wage demands could be the biggest hurdle with the defender reportedly earning £208,000-a-week on his contract at the Nou Camp [The Sun].

In other Everton news, this Blues player is scheduled to undergo a medical at a new club this week.

Be sure to follow Goodison News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on Everton and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Campbell.