Arsenal set to shock the world with Barcelona defender signing

By Mirror: Friday, May 24th 2019 at 17:42 GMT +3 | Football
Umtiti is wanted by the Gunners [Courtesy]

Arsenal are keeping tabs of Samuel Umtiti’s situation at Barcelona, as they look to strengthen their defence this summer.

However, a move for the World Cup winner will almost certainly hinge on the Gunners securing a Champions League place by winning next week’s Europa League Final.

Umtiti was a key man for Ernesto Valverde in 2017-18 and impressed during France’s success in Russia.

But a knee injury early in 2018-19 and continued doubts over his fitness after returning from surgery saw him lose his place to Clement Lenglet in Barca’s first-choice starting XI.

Now, with Barcelona pushing to add Matthijs de Ligt, the Ajax captain, Umtiti is set to be surplus to requirements at Camp Nou.

Barca need to bring in funds and Umtiti, who would ultimately be fourth-choice upon the Dutchman’s arrival, is one of their most bankable assets.

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And they could land £50million for a player who 12 months ago was proving himself as one of the world’s best centre-backs, and, at the age of 25, still has his best years ahead of him.

Umtiti has not been a regular at Barca this season [Courtesy]

According to L’Equipe, Football Director Raul Sanllehi - who moved to the Emirates from Barcelona - is heading up Arsenal's interest.

Juventus and Manchester United are among the clubs who have also been monitoring Umtiti’s situation.

Arsenal have a tight transfer budget this summer, however, and failure to see off Chelsea in Baku and book a spot in next year's Champions League - with the additional revenue that competition brings - would almost likely end any hopes.

For his part, Umtiti has previously declared his desire to remain in Catalunya, believing that he can win his starting place back next season.

He only inked a five-year deal last summer.

Interest in Umtiti comes amid suggestions that Laurent Koscielny, the club captain, is considering his future.

Koscielny has another year left on his contract, but after nine years in North London, he is being linked with an exit this summer, in pursuit of a fresh challenge.

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