Samuel Umtiti insists speculation linking him with Arsenal this summer was wide of the mark and he never actually came close to signing with the Gunners.
Barcelona spent big on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto this summer as they refreshed their LaLiga winning squad, while Philippe Coutinho, Malcom, Andre Gomes, Jasper Cillessen, Denis Suarez all left the Nou Camp.
But with Barcelona looking to finance a club-record swoop to bring Neymar back to the club from PSG, the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Umtiti were heavily linked with moves away; the latter of whom was said to have been a £50m target for Arsenal.
However, Umtiti insists he never came close to leaving the Gunners, with Arsenal in the end signing David Luiz from rivals Chelsea for a modest £8m fee.
Speaking for the first time about the speculation, former Lyon man Umtiti told Canal Plus: “Honestly, I don’t know where this rumour with Arsenal came from.
“Overnight, I received messages from my friends ‘ah, so you are joining Arsenal?’ I’m not, I’m sorry but I’m staying at Barcelona.
“Contacts with Arsenal? To be honest, I don’t know if they had conversations with my agent, I just told him that I didn’t care what was happening this summer and that it wasn’t even necessary to talk to me about it.
“It was useless, I was going to have the same answer.
“My dream as a child is to play for Barcelona. Last season was the most difficult of my career, especially in terms of injuries.”
As for suggestions that he could have been used as a makeweight in a deal to bring Neymar back to the club from PSG, Umtiti continued: “Exchange coin for Neymar? It’s crazy.
“It made me laugh, I don’t even have an answer to where it comes from.”
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