Ultimately, Samuel Umtiti was Barcelona's most successful representative at the World Cup, his stock rising as he grew into the tournament to become one of world football's top defenders. Therefore, Barcelona's decision to extend his contract prior to Russia now looks like a very shrewd move - undoubtedly there would have been numerous potential suitors knocking at the door.
A shrewd decision
Despite Umtiti's 18-carat end to the campaign, the France defender endured a patchy season, capped by the evening in Rome when Barça and Umtiti crashed out of the Champions League after losing 3-0 and throwing away a handsome first-leg lead. Nevertheless, the Barcelona board bit the bullet, extending Umtiti's contract until June 2023 with a 'hands-off' buy-out clause of 500 million euros.
"This way, no one will come for him", Josep Maria Bartomeu boasted on the day of his extension. Umtiti will not report back for club duty until just before the Spanish Super Cup, but will return with a World Cup winners medal and as one of the best defenders in world football. His challenges now rest in finding the consistency that was lacking last season, helping France team-mate Dembélé to find his rhythm in a Barça shirt and winning the Champions League.