Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has attempted to end reports linking Samuel Umtiti with a move to Manchester City or Manchester United.
The French international joined the Catalan side last summer from French club Lyon and he has instantly become a regular starter and fan favourite at the club, forming a solid partnership with Gerard Pique and ousting Javier Mascherano from the starting eleven.
Matched with his club form, the central defender has excelled for the French national side and will be looking to consolidate his place at the heart of their defence for the World Cup in Russia next summer.
Man United boss Mourinho is keen to push Barca and test their resolve over his relatively cheap release fee, whilst Man City’s Pep Guardiola has also reportedly discussed a bid for the young defender.
And, that has now led the Catalan club to move and improve that figure, after they saw Liverpool pay £75m for Virgil Van Dijk to Southampton.
Officials believe that United and City will attempt to spend similar and reach Umtiti’s release clause and have therefore now have held discussions with the Frenchman’s agent.
Valverde, speaking ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash with Celta Vigo – said the youngster’s future at the club is safe.
“Umtiti? We do not worry about what others do, but he is clearly a great defender who we want to have for a long time,” he told a press conference.
“We are happy with him, we think he is happy in Barcelona and want to stay, and it does not matter what a clause is if he does not want to leave.
“Release clauses in Spain work this way and often can create difficulties, we are calm.”
Interest in Umtiti is far fetched, given Barca’s desire to build on he and Pique’s partnership, offering the latter a new deal recently.