Chelsea lose out to Barcelona in race to sign £25m France defender – report

Barcelona are expected to beat Chelsea to the £25m signing of Samuel Umtiti, according to ESPN

Chelsea have lost the race to sign Samuel Umtiti as Barcelona prepare to confirm the signing of the France defender, according to reports.

Incoming Blues manager Antonio Conte was thought to be interested in signing the Lyon defender as the Italy head coach looks to strengthen his defensive options at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Umtiti’s compatriot Kurt Zouma is still recovering from a serious knee injury, while Gary Cahill and John Terry struggled with a loss of form at various stages of Chelsea’s doomed defence of their top-flight crown.

The Blues were battling with Barcelona for the signature of impressive Lyon star, who scored one goal in 30 Ligue 1 appearances for the French side last term.

According to ESPN, the La Liga champions are on the verge of completing a £25m deal to sign the highly-rated 22-year-old defender ahead of Chelsea.

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The Blues finished in ninth place in the Premier League last season.

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