Man Utd ready to trigger Barcelona defender Umtiti release clause

Manchester United are locked in "constant talks" with Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti as Jose Mourinho remains keen to bring the Frenchman to Old Trafford this summer.

The Spanish publication said on their Friday front cover [9 March] that Mourinho already tried to sign the France worldwide during the January transfer window and will redouble his efforts this summer.

His form has sparked interest from across the continent - so too the £50m release clause on his current deal at the Spanish league leaders.

Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday with both Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly putting in solid displays despite Bailly scoring an own-goal, but both of them have struggled with injuries over the two seasons they've played together, as is the case with the first-choice backup option Phil Jones.

The 24-year-old is in his second season at Camp Nou having moved from Lyon in 2016 and has established himself as Gerard Pique's partner in central defence.

However, while Manchester United and Mourinho are doing all they can, a new contract with Barcelona is still being discussed.

United had identified Umtiti as one of their top transfer targets with Mourinho plotting to take advantage of his modest release clause.

Yannick Umtiti, Samuel's brother and agent, is said to be in contact with officials from Old Trafford, and it is claimed the centre-back would be willing to make the move after speaking to Mourinho on several occasions.

Vanessa Coleman