Arsenal have begun talks over a summer deal for reported Manchester United target Samuel Umtiti, it is claimed.
Recent reports have suggested that the Catalan giants are firmly considering selling the France defender this summer to help fund their other transfer dealings, with Umtiti haven fallen behind Clement Lenglet in the pecking order.
With Gerard Pique firmly established, Barca are expected to push through a huge summer swoop for Ajax teenager Matthijs de Ligt, fuelling rumours they are ready to cash in on Umtiti, who would effectively drop to fourth in the pecking order.
Earlier on Thursday it was claimed that Barcelona have already circulated Umtiti’s name around Europe’s top clubs, informing them that bidding for the former Lyon star would start at €70m (£60m).
Now, Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sportsmole) has provided a crucial update on the situation by suggesting that the Gunners have stolen a march on their top four rivals United.
They report that Arsenal are in talks with Barcelona over a deal for the 25-year-old, who they view as the ideal option to bolster a suspect back line.
A fee of €70m would make Umtiti the third most costly central defender in history behind Virgil Van Dijk and Lucas Hernandez, though Napoli and Inter Milan are apparently seeking as much as €100m for Kalidou Koulibaly and Milan Skriniar, respectively.
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