Unai Emery has heaped praise on Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti amid talk Arsenal could be ready to move for the player in the summer.
Manchester United have also been linked with 25-year-old centre-back, who may well be seen as surplus to requirements in Catalonia this summer.
With Gerard Pique firmly established, Barca are expected to push through a huge summer swoop for Ajax teenager Matthijs de Ligt, fuelling rumours they could ready to cash in on Umtiti, who would effectively drop to fourth in the pecking order.
Last month Goal claimed 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).
La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sportsmole) then provided a crucial update on the situation by suggesting that the Gunners have stolen a march on their top-four rivals United.
Umtiti though is apparently not keen on a move away with Marca recently suggesting that Umtiti, who only returned from a knee injury in February, is ready to try and establish himself as Pique’s central defensive partner.
Emery though, who will likely sign a defender this summer, has not hidden his liking for the France international, although the Gunners will struggle to meet his price tag.
Emery told RMC Sport: “[Umtiti] is a good player, France has some very good players and the French market is quite attractive for many clubs.
“I always had French players at my clubs, Valencia, Sevilla, PSG and now, here at Arsenal. I could always count on those players.”
Umtiti still has over four years remaining on his contract at Camp Nou, but the 25-year-old currently finds himself out of Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup.