Arsenal approach for Samuel Umtiti fell through over injury

Jamie Spencer
Reports in Spain suggest Samuel Umtiti was recently close to joining Arsenal
Reports in Spain suggest Samuel Umtiti was recently close to joining Arsenal / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Arsenal could have signed Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti earlier this month, but injury scuppered any potential deal from being completed.

Umtiti, who has only played once for Barcelona this season and has been an unused substitute for nearly every La Liga game, suffered a fractured toe recently.

Mundo Deportivo has claimed that that a deal was ‘practically completed’ before the injury. There was even talk that it could have smoothed the process in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s proposed loan moved to Camp Nou.

Aubameyang travelled to Barcelona on Monday, but it has since emerged that those negotiations have broken down over the financial details of the loan. It has been claimed that he will now return to London and that he was only in the Spanish city to visit family.

Contact between Arsenal and Barcelona is said to have ‘frozen’ as soon as Umtiti was off the table this month, before Aubameyang negotiations later began.

MD has added that a future deal for Umtiti has not been ruled out. His contract at Camp Nou is until 2026 and there could be resurrection of Arsenal loan talks in the summer. It was described as ‘feasible’ this month and that could again be the case at the end of the season in June.

Umtiti hasn’t been a regular starter for Barcelona since the 2017/18 campaign. Injuries have hampered him over the last four years, although even when fit he hasn’t been able to hold down a place for a consistent run of games.

At international level, the 28-year-old played in the Euro 2016 final and won the World Cup in 2018.

This month, Arsenal have released Sead Kolasinac and sold Calum Chambers, both of whom can operate as centre-back. With David Luiz also released last summer, it leaves Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding as the only specialist centre-backs in the Gunners squad.

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