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Arsenal eye French star but face competition from Chelsea – reports
According to the Express, Arsenal are showing an interest in signing Lyon centre-back Samuel Umtiti this summer but will face competition from Chelsea and possibly even Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger appears to have solved our defensive midfield problems with the signing of Granit Xhaka but the boss has plenty of other areas of concern in the squad, not least at the back.
A reliable partner for Laurent Koscielny is needed as neither Per Mertesacker or Gabriel have shown they are the answer to our defensive woes and we’ve been linked with a whole host of names in recent weeks.
The latest is Samuel Umtiti, with the Express citing reports coming out of Spain that claim Wenger has had the 22-year-old centre-back watched for several months ahead of a potential move this summer.
Umtiti has progressed through the Lyon youth ranks to become one of the most highly-rated defenders in French football and is currently at Euro 2016 having been called up to Didier Deschamps senior squad.
The youngster is mainly played in the middle of defence so he could replace Calum Chambers – who’s expected to leave on loan – but Umtiti is also capable of playing at left-back so he could also act as back-up to Nacho Monreal with Kieran Gibbs tipped to leave this summer.
That sort of versatility is sure to appeal to Wenger as he likes his defenders to be able to play in more than one position and Umtiti would certainly be an exciting addition to the squad.
However, we aren’t the only one’s showing an interest as the Express claim that Chelsea have already held talks with his agent while Barcelona are also understood to be keeping tabs on the situation.
So we’ll face some stiff competition if Arsene does decide to make any formal move for Umtiti – although any potential deal will have to wait until next month as the defender has made it clear he wont discuss his future until after Euro 2016.