Barcelona expect Samuel Umtiti to be available for their La Liga meeting with Eibar on Saturday 19 October, as the defender finishes up his injury rehab.
Whilst training with the French national team in early September, the 25-year-old sustained a hairline fracture on his right foot, leaving Ernesto Valverde with just three fit centre-backs in his senior squad. Umtiti has missed nine Blaugrana matches as a result, with his side struggling to find consistency in the early stages of the 2019/20 season.
Barça have amassed five wins from their first eight La Liga fixtures this term, their tally of two defeats and a draw allowing Real Madrid to take top spot in the table.
However, Valverde’s backline will be bolstered following the news of Umtiti’s imminent return, as reported by Spanish broadcaster CCMA.
Of the sides between seventh and first place in the standings, only Sevilla have conceded more goals than the Catalans, who have appeared vulnerable in the opening months of their title defence.
Their underwhelming form in domestic competition has led to calls for the manager’s sacking, though Barça have begun their Champions League campaign in strong fashion.
Drawn into an intimidating group that also features Borussia Dortmund and Inter, La Blaugrana have taken four points from their opening two pool games.
Despite securing a 0-0 draw in Germany, Barcelona were heavily reliant upon goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen as they managed to keep their hosts out. Nevertheless, their defensive frailties were exposed at Signal Iduna Park, proving the importance of having Umtiti fully fit.
Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have both received criticism for their displays at the back this year, whilst 19-year-old Jean-Clair Todibo has been restricted to just two appearances in 2019/20.
Umtiti has played a total of 98 matches for the club since joining from Lyon in 2016 for a fee of €25m.
For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!