Barcelona are set for a boost as defender Samuel Umtiti should return from five months out to face Eibar this weekend. The 25-year-old has been out of action since picking up a nasty knee injury in Barca’s penultimate game of last season when the Catalans beat Getafe 2-0 at the Nou Camp on May 12.
The France international has been undergoing physiotherapy and stepped up his training in recent weeks, with a view to being reintegrated into the starting XI.
That may come a bit sooner than expected as, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, the centre-back will replace the suspended Gerard Pique for the trip to Ipurua Municipal Stadium.
Pique picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Sevilla before the international break and will miss the next match.
While it seems Umtiti will play some part, it remains to be seen if he is given a start or placed in the bench, with Ernesto Valverde sure to have one eye on the upcoming El Clasico encounter with Real Madrid on October 26.
Fellow Frenchman Clement Lenglet has been operating alongside Pique in the heart of the Catalans’ defence and kept Umtiti on the bench for much of the second half of 2018-19.
Umtit was linked with a move away from Barcelona during the summer transfer window, with both Arsenal and Manchester United said to be keen, but he opted to remain in Spain.
All at the club will be happy as they now need him to shore up the rearguard for the return to domestic action this weekend.