Barcelona have nullified interest in rising star Samuel Umtiti by tying him down to a new five-year contract at the Nou Camp, which includes a staggering £438m release clause.
Umtiti’s previous contract would have allowed the Frenchman to leave for as little as £52.5m and was attracting interest from suitors such as Manchester United.
But now the 24-year-old has put pen to paper on a long-term deal and enormous release clause to keep him at the Nou Camp until 2023.
Umtiti signed the new contract on Monday morning, which was swiftly followed by a press conference with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The president revealed:
‘Today is a special day. The fact Samuel has renewed his contract is great news for Barcelonistas.
‘He arrived here two years ago and is now an important part of the squad. Without him, the team wouldn’t be the same.
‘The new deal is until 2023 and his buyout clause is €500m. We think with this clause no one will come here and try to take him away from us.’
Umtiti has established himself as a regular in the first-team since signing from Lyon in 2016 for a fee of around £22m
He has made 83 appearances in two seasons and was part of the central defensive pairing, alongside Gerard Pique, that comfortably won La Liga this year, almost going unbeaten.
The Frenchman had initially insisted a decision on his future would be made after the World Cup, but Barcelona have swayed him into committing sooner.
‘I’m very happy and proud to be able to renew with Barcelona. My dream was to be with the best. Since the first day, I’ve felt at home at the club and I want to stay here,’ Umtiti told a press conference.
‘My priority was always to renew with Barca. I never saw myself in another team.’
‘This club has been in my heart since I was a kid, and it is a dream to play here with players like (Lionel) Messi.
‘I’m staying at Barcelona because this is the best team in the world. I’m not here because of money. That’s important but I’m here to win titles, which is the most important thing.
‘Next season I hope we’re going to fight for all the titles. That’s why I’ve signed.’
The 24-year-old is currently on international duty with France ahead of the World Cup and scored the opening goal in their 3-1 friendly win against Italy.
Playing alongside Antoine Griezmann, Umtiti was asked if he had spoke to his compatriot about a potential switch to the Nou Camp.
Umtiti said: ‘I speak a lot with Antoine Griezmann but not about this matter. (We speak about), Playstation, food, but not about this.
‘He’s a fantastic player who would help any team in the world. If he comes here it would be fantastic.’