Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists that Arsenal’s transfer target Samuel Umtiti remains part of their long-term plans at Camp Nou.
The France international has been heavily linked with a move away from Catalonia following a handful of injuries, even though he only signed a new contract at the start of the season.
“He renewed him before the World Cup, he has four years left on his contract and there is no Umtiti issue,” Bartomeu told TVE (via Metro).
“Now he has to recover from his injury as we want to have him in the best form possible. Having Umtiti and [Clément] Lenglet on the left [side of central defence] is a guarantee and I would like him to continue.”
It had been speculatively suggested by Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb that Arsenal were the frontrunners for Umtiti’s signature at the end of the season.
One reason for that is said to be Manchester United’s decision to turn their attention towards AS Roma star Kostas Manolas, who has a release clause of £31m in his current contract in the Italian capital.
I can just see it now:
Arsenal sign Samuel Umtiti this summer, fans and fan channels go wild, praising Arsenal for finally signing a top player…
…then he reinjures his knee (free cartilage= bad news) and those same folks tear the club to shreds for buying damaged goods.
— Nate Smith (@nws13) April 10, 2019
But Barcelona’s hierarchy appear adamant Umtiti will stay alongside his compatriots Lenglet and Jean-Clair Todibo as defensive options for manager Ernesto Valverde next season.
Barcelona could still look to add further reinforcements to their defence at the end of the season as they continue to keep tabs on Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt.