Unai Emery has reportedly identified the centre-back as his No.1 defensive target and Barcelona are prepared to offload him.
French international Samuel Umtiti dismissed the growing transfer speculation surrounding him moving to Arsenal and confirmed he intends to stay with Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
He told RTL France: ‘I have a contract, I feel happy in Barcelona. I had a complicated season, but I will still be at Barcelona next season.’
The statement will come as a blow to Emery, who is desperate to strengthen his squad this summer. Arsenal suffered a humiliating end to their campaign with a 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final, missing out on Champions League football next season as a result of that defeat.
Emery has been handed just £45million to spend and might be forced to sell some of his first-team stars to raise further funds. Although Barcelona might be open to Umtiti leaving this summer, the 25-year-old is under contract at the club until 2023. Whatever happens with Umtiti, Arsenal do appear to be closing in on the double signing of midfielder Dennis Praet and centre-back Joachim Andersen. Arsenal have bid £44m for the Sampdoria duo and their offer is expected to be accepted.
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