Arsenal suffer setback in pursuit of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti

Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti who has stated that a return back to his former club Lyon is still a possibility.

The Gunners have been heavily exposed at the back throughout the season with their goal difference in the Premier League being -1, which is the worst of any side in the top half of the table.

Umtiti, who joined the Blaugrana in 2016, has been unable to secure a starting birth at the club with Gerard Pique and his French compatriot Clement Lenglet being the first choice at centre back.

The French World Cup winner has been on the North London side’s radar but a move never materialised even though rumours suggested that both parties were interested.

The 26-year-old was a crucial cog in France’s World Cup-winning campaign but injuries have meant that Lenglet has now surpassed him at club level.

His injury problems have continued this campaign, having missed 7 games already due to foot and knee-related injuries.

The centre back spoke on the rumours of him leaving the Catalan giants and has stated that there is a possibility of joining his former club Lyon, either as a player or coach.

It was at Lyon where Umtiti showcased his great potential, where he stood out in a team containing Corentin Tolisso and current Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.

The Gunners could use the centre back’s quality massively as they have conceded the joint-most goals in the top 12 positions.

Recent signings David Luiz and Sokratis were bought as short term replacements for the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker but the duo have failed to live up to the quality they have shown in their previous clubs Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

Both defenders are already in their early thirties and have shown their age this season as they have made plenty of errors in defence.

With Calum Chambers featuring more often as a right-back and Rob Holding still trying to become match fit from his horrible injury, Arsenal only have Shkodran Mustafi available.

Umtiti has been heavily rumoured with a move away from the Camp Nou with Europe’s elite such as Manchester City eyeing him up in last summer’s transfer window.

It is reported that the Frenchman is available for a relatively cheap price of £53m as that is his release clause in his contract.

With Lyon lacking that kind of transfer kitty, Arsenal still might have a chance to steal a great defender who is not getting any minutes at Barcelona.

I am a passionate football fan studying in Swansea University. I have written for a number of football based publications including 90min. You can contact me via my email here, or connect and view my linkdin profile

Footybunker.com