Arsenal are planning to make a stunning move for Samuel Umtiti in the summer transfer window, according to reports.
Umtiti has fallen out of favor at Barcelona, and could be looking to make a move in the summer in search of more regular football. The Frenchman is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world at the moment. He was an integral part of the France side that won the World Cup last year.
Having moved to the Nou Camp from Lyon in 2016, Umtiti quickly established himself as a regular at the heart of Barca’s defense. He became an invaluable asset, and deservedly earned himself a new five-year contract that he only signed last summer. The contract contained a release clause worth a scarcely believable £430 million release clause.
It was a statement of intent, making it clear that he isn’t for sale. The narrative has changed drastically though. Umtiti picked up a nasty knee injury that kept him out of action from September to February. In the mean time, Clement Lenglet took his spot and has never looked back.
He has been sensational at the heart of defense for the Catalan giants. As a result, he seems to have forced Umtiti out of the side on a permanent basis. The 25-year-old has only made two appearances since his return from injury and it looks clear that he isn’t irreplaceable despite the contract he signed last summer.
In fact, if reports are to be believed, Barca now want to sell him. The club are looking to free up their wage bill, and the sale of Umtiti could contribute to that. According to The Independent, the Liga Santander giants are eyeing a move for Ajax starlet Matthijs de Ligt. The youngster is in brilliant form at the moment. He is quickly establishing himself as one of Europe’s most promising talents.
If they do end up signing him, Umtiti is likely to seek a move away. Should that happen, Arsenal would be waiting with open arms. The Gunners are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements at the moment. A current injury crisis has sidelined so many key players at the heart of defense. Hence, a priority signing for Emery once the window opens would be a new center-back.
Of course, no club would ever be willing to pay a price as high as £430 million. Barcelona are supposedly said to be willing to negotiate, and could bring the price down to as low as £60 million.
It remains unclear whether the Arsenal board are going to back Unai Emery with the funds he requires in the market or not. If they do, then £60 million for Umtiti could be an absolute steal. They are also set to face Manchester United in the race for his signature in the summer, so they will have to bring their A game during negotiations.