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.