Arsenal open talks on Umtiti, battle Barca for Alaba
Arsenal director of football, Raul Sanllehi has reportedly opened talks with Barcelona chief, Eric Abidal over a summer deal for Samuel Umtiti, reports sportsmole.co.uk. The France international has been tipped to depart Camp Nou at the end of the season after being restricted to just eight league starts in an injury-plagued campaign.
Umtiti was sidelined for close to five months earlier in the season and has supposedly been deemed surplus to requirements, with Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt being targeted as a replacement.
Manchester United have been the side most associated with showing an interest in the 25-year-old, but Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Arsenal are already in discussions with Barca. Umtiti is said to have been identified as the perfect candidate to strengthen the Gunners’ still-fragile backline, though he only signed a five-year deal last summer – amid strong links to United – and Arsenal will have to spend big to sign him.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are reportedly considering a swoop for Bayern Munich’s versatile full-back, David Alaba as a long-term replacement for Jordi Alba.The Austria international has racked up close to 350 appearances for Bayern during his near-decade in their senior ranks, being used mainly at left-back but also in defensive midfield and on the wing. Alaba admitted last week that he will consider a move away from the Allianz Arena, with Arsenal a club that holds a special place in his heart.
According to France Football, however, Arsenal could be trumped to the 26-year-old’s signature by Barcelona, who are looking to bring in cover for Alba.In the longer term, it is hoped that Alaba can take the place of 30-year-old Alba, with doubts remaining over the Spaniard’s future.Bayern announced on Wednesday that they have agreed a £68m deal to sign left-back Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid.
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