Arsenal have reportedly added Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti to their transfer shortlist ahead of this summer’s window.
According to the Independent, Gunners boss Unai Emery is keen on signing the France international, who has slipped behind Clement Lenglet in the pecking order at the Nou Camp.
The World Cup winner has struggled with a knee injury this season which has limited him to just 10 appearances so far, which has allowed fellow countryman Lenglet to replace him alongside Gerard Pique.
Now fit again, Umtiti – signed for £24.6 million in 2016 (The Guardian) – has struggled to get back into Ernesto Valverde’s starting XI.
With rumours gathering pace that Barca could sign Matthijs de Ligt this summer, Umtiti’s time with the Catalan giants may be drawing to a close.
If Emery is somehow able to land Umtiti this summer then it really would be a huge statement from the north Londoners.
Umtiti is very much the modern day centre-half. He can pass the ball accurately, is technically good and is relatively solid defensively – although he is not the most dominant in the air.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been well documented in recent years, but Umtiti signing would certainly go a long way to changing their fortunes at the back.
Laurent Koscielny is ageing and Shkodran Mustafi has continually failed to impress. The former Lyon player would be expensive and Arsenal would likely need to secure Champions League qualification to reap the financial benefits to help land him, but he would be a sensational acquisition.
Director of football Raul Sanllehi helped bring Umtiti to Barca from Lyon, so perhaps this deal isn’t totally beyond the realms of possibility.