22 Defender Lyon France
Olympique Lyonnais have an incredibly strong youth academy. Each year when lists are circulated featuring the breakdown of where each player in Europe’s biggest competitions learned their trade, Lyon are always strong performers and make regular appearances in the top five. They have two players in this year’s list and that will probably continue in the coming years as they produce more and more players for their first team.
Samuel Umtiti is one of those players to benefit from Lyon’s focus on encouraging their youth ranks. He made his Ligue 1 debut nearly four years and has been a regular feature in the team since January 2012. He turned 22 less than three weeks ago but has already racked up over a century of top-flight league appearances.
He is already a veteran side and has become the organiser in defence. A centre-back capable of doing a job at left-back, Samuel is good in the air, very comfortable in possession and has a decent turn of pace. A naturally calm and assured defender he has been booked just 18 times in Ligue 1. We’re used to seeing young defenders accumulate cautions rather quickly as they get used to the highest level so Samuel is a pleasant surprise.
2015 has been…
…just not good enough from the whole team.
Umtiti has continued to grow as a player and work on his consistency but he’s been busy in a team that has simply struggled to keep pace with the roaring Paris Saint-Germain train.
Lyon have picked up 25 points less than PSG through 2015 in the league. They started the year one point ahead of the Parisian giants and two points behind Marseille at the top of table but couldn’t keep pace.
The buying power of Ligue 1 isn’t anywhere close to the rest of Europe. PSG are the only side capable of matching the biggest clubs on the continent so it’ll either be the French capital or any one of 20 sides keen to get their hands on a promising defender.
He’s a regular target for Arsenal given the historic link between the North London club, their manager and the country of his birth but it’s probably no more than clickbait. Recent interviews have suggested that Umtiti is aware that his future will ultimately lie outside of France but is currently in no hurry to move abroad. An almost guaranteed starting spot and frequent exposure to European competition is everything he needs right now.
C Maybe – just maybe – an outside chance for the squad in the summer
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