Arsenal could have the opportunity to sign Samuel Umtiti on loan from Barcelona, claims a report.
Umtiti was a key member of the France squad that won the World Cup in 2018, but his progress at club level has been disrupted by injuries in recent years.
Barcelona are set to make wholesale changes this summer after their embarrassing exit in the Champions League. They have already changed their manager and sporting director – while even Lionel Messi could leave.
Now, they will be looking to reshape their squad. Recent reports suggested that they only consider a handful of players unsellable.
Umtiti is one of those who could make way. According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are open to offers for the centre-back, as they are concerned about his injury history.
However, no club has made an acceptable offer for the Frenchman yet. Therefore, Barca are considering allowing him to leave on loan.
That has put six clubs on alert – three in England, and three in Italy. Arsenal, Leicester and West Ham are the Premier League suitors.
Arsenal will be welcoming William Saliba back to the Emirates Stadium this season after his loan spell at Saint Ettiene. Gabriel Magalhaes is also close to joining, but they could add another defensive reinforcement.
Leicester, meanwhile, have seen Caglar Soyuncu linked with an exit. Recent reports suggested PSG were circling, so they would need a replacement if they sell him.
As for West Ham, they had one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League last season. Signing a defender of Umtiti’s profile would certainly help them rectify that.
ITALIAN COMPETITION FOR UMTITI
The Premier League trio will have to stave off competition from Roma, Napoli and Lazio, though. The latter can also offer Umtiti Champions League football next season, unlike any of the other teams in the running.
Umtiti is keen to stay at Barcelona, though, with his contract still lasting until 2023. However, Barcelona are weighing up the financial implications of keeping an injury prone player, and look likely to decide against keeping him.
Previous reports had suggested that Arsenal were willing to abandon their pursuit of Umtiti due to his price tag. But with Barcelona now considering a loan deal, it appears they may reignite their interest.