Report: Barcelona Consider Andreas Christensen Amid Samuel Umtiti Injury Fears

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Andreas Christensen of Chelsea controls the ball prior the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and Vidi FC at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona have reportedly asked Chelsea about the availability of defender Andreas Christensen amid fears Samuel Umtiti may need to have surgery on his troublesome knee problem.

According to Tomas Andreu of Sport, the Blaugrana have been weighing up possible defensive targets ahead of the January transfer window. Matthijs De Ligt is said to be on their list, although Ajax are reportedly unwilling to move him on until the summer.

An alternative option is said to be Christensen, who has struggled to get regular football time at Chelsea since the arrival of Maurizio Sarri as manager in the summer.

"Barca have sounded out the Blues about the Dane and in principle the contact with [Chelsea director] Marina Granovskaia was not positive and she does not look at the player leaving in a good light," said Andreu. "However that simple sounding out could become more firm if Umtiti does require surgery. "

The Barcelona board are reportedly ready to back manager Ernesto Valverde in the transfer window if Umtiti needs to go under the knife, as his absence would leave just Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Thomas Vermaelen to fill the centre-back positions.

The chance to move to a club like Barcelona would surely be well received by Christensen, especially given how difficult he is currently finding it to force his way into the XI at Stamford Bridge.

When he has played so far this season, the Denmark international hasn't performed well, with broadcaster Alex Goldberg commenting on how much the defender struggled in the 3-2 win over Derby County in the Carabao Cup:

Alex Goldberg @AlexGoldberg_

I never thought I’d see David Luiz come on for defensive reasons. New low for Christensen, especially considering how bad Cahill also was, but he didn’t come off.

Simon Phillips noted earlier in the campaign that the form of David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger had made it difficult to make a case for Christensen to play:

Simon Phillips @SiPhillipsSport

Christensen is a great player, but has he been our best centre back so far? No. Hence why Rudi and Luiz start ahead. It’s too early for impatience to creep in for him, he needs to focus on playing better when he gets the nod. He’s been good so far, but not great.

That may yet change in the coming weeks. Not only will the fixture list get more congested ahead of the festive period, Luiz was poor for the Blues when they were defeated 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday; the Brazilian was arguably culpable in all three goals conceded.

If Christensen doesn't get opportunities before the end of the year, he will surely consider his options in January. After all, when he was utilised by former manager Antonio Conte last season, he was arguably the standout young defender in the top flight.

Stylistically he'd be a good fit for Barcelona, as the 22-year-old showcased excellent distribution from the base when he was in the team last season:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Andreas Christensen: Is the only Premier League player (excl. sub) to earn a 100% pass success rate in more than one match this season, achieving the feat against Tottenham, Swansea and Southampton https://t.co/5LI1jXNPBO

Even so, any reluctance on the part of Chelsea to let the player go is understandable, as Christensen would surely be the first man to come into the team if either Rudiger or Luiz suffered an injury or suspension.

It's imperative Christensen grasps any chance that does come his way, such is the level of competition at the base of the team for the Blues. Despite his recent inactivity, he boasts all the attributes to be a crucial building block at Stamford Bridge for many years to come.