Barcelona have reportedly set an asking price of €60million to allow Samuel Umtiti to leave the club in the summer transfer window.
The France international has had a difficult time at Barca of late, and it looks increasingly like his Nou Camp career could be nearing its end if this latest report from Don Balon is anything to go by.
The report links Manchester City as admirers of Umtiti, but if he is put on the market for that price this summer, Arsenal must surely also enter the running.
The Gunners have had an absolutely dire season so far in 2019/20, currently sitting all the way down in 10th in the Premier League table.
While there have perhaps been some signs of improvement under new manager Mikel Arteta, the point remains that he’s inherited a very weak squad from Unai Emery after years of poor recruitment dating back to Arsene Wenger’s time at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal cannot go on with the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi as first-team regulars for too much longer, and Umtiti would be a clear upgrade.
The former Lyon man would undoubtedly be a bit of a gamble due to his recent fitness record and his lack of experience playing in as physically competitive a league as the Premier League, but at the moment it looks like a gamble AFC can’t afford not to take.
Luiz, Sokratis and Mustafi are all horribly error-prone and have never even at the peak of their careers been among the finest defenders in Europe. Some might make a case for Luiz at points in his Chelsea career, but that was really just one season when the tactical nous of Antonio Conte hid his glaring weaknesses.
Umtiti, meanwhile, is still only 26 years of age but has already been up there as a star performer for Barcelona and Lyon, as well as the French national team.
He’s at that point now where he looks in need of a move to revive his career, and Arsenal could be the perfect opportunity for him to show what he can do again.
The fact that City are said to be interested, according to Don Balon, shows that Umtiti remains highly regarded, and Arteta would do well to beat his old mentor Pep Guardiola to this deal with the greater guarantee of more regular playing time in the starting XI.
Top centre-backs aren’t available for this kind of price every day, so even the notoriously frugal Arsenal will surely recognise this potential bargain and do their best to lure him to north London. If they don’t, they are truly finished as a seriously ambitious club for the foreseeable future.