ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Samuel Umtiti could be on his way to Arsenal this summer

Arsenal Umtiti

The Umtiti to Arsenal links are back. The Barcelona defender previously linked with a move to Arsenal could finally make the move come summer. Moreover, with Barcelona seemingly done with Umtiti an exit looms over him in the summer. Arsenal are said to be Samuel Umtiti‘s long-time admirers and Barcelona are ready to offer him to the Gunners. The Spanish giants do not consider Umtiti a part of their future plans after his struggles with injuries. The French international joined Barcelona in 2016 and is now staring at an exit.

The Umtiti to Arsenal links were first reported in January this year. Arsenal were looking to bolster the squad in a bid to secure Champions League football. The Gunners shortlisted the Barcelona center-back for a January transfer. However, Arsenal wanted the 28-year-old on a loan deal from the Catalans.

Further on, when everything seemed to be in place for Umtiti’s loan move to Arsenal, the center-back suffered a tow injury. As a result, Arsenal pulled the plug on the deal. Moreover, Samuel Umtiti is yet to play a minute for Barcelona since then.

Arsenal offered another chance to sign their January target

Barcelona have reportedly offered Arsenal the chance to grab Samuel Umtiti this summer according to The Daily Star. Umtiti initially enjoyed his time at Barcelona, cementing his place in the starting eleven in his first season itself. However, since sustaining a knee injury during the 2017/18 season, Umtiti has failed to get back to his best. His role with the Catalans reduced from a starter to a mere bench-warmer. After a massive 83 appearances in the first two seasons, Umtiti could have only managed 50 games since the 2018/19 season.

Moreover, the 31-times-capped France international has sustained regular injuries, forcing him to miss a staggering 105 games. Barcelona are hence looking to offload Umtiti who is one of the highest earners of the squad. However, the club extended his contract earlier this season to everybody’s surprise. But the Spanish side is still looking to get rid of their center-back. Arsenal would present Umtiti with the opportunity to redeem his career, only if the Gunners take the gamble of signing an injury-prone player.

The positives and negatives of Umtiti-to-Arsenal

The biggest positive for Arsenal in the signing of Samuel Umtiti will be his experience. The Gunners currently have Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes as their first-choice center-backs. Both at the age of 24, lack some experience of playing at the top level for a consistent time. Furthermore, the same has been evident in Arsenal’s last few games where the duo were unable to perform in crunch games. Samuel Umtiti at 28-years-old can provide the experience which is lacking in Arsenal’s defence. Moreover, the World Cup winner has featured in 26 Champions League games and 13 Europa League games across stints with Barcelona and Lyon. Therefore, he could be crucial to Arsenal’s European campaign as well.

However, one major negative would be William Saliba’s comeback into the Arsenal backline. The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Marseille, which also happens to be his third loan spell since signing for the Gunners. The youngster has delivered solid performances for Marseille, earning him Ligue 1’s young player of the year award.

Saliba is expected to fight for a starting place under Mikel Arteta when he returns from his loan spell. But Arsenal signing Umtiti could further dent Saliba’s hopes of carving a career at the North London club.

Arsenal are looking set to play in the Europa League after back-to-back defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle may have ended their Champions League dreams. While many of their deals depended on Champions League football, Umtiti’s transfer may still go ahead. Barcelona have offered Umtiti and regular minutes at Arsenal could lure him to the Emirates.

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