Arsenal manager Unai Emery has claimed Samuel Umtiti is a ‘very good player’, amid reports linking the Barcelona defender with a move to the Emirates.
The France World Cup winner has found himself in and out of the Barcelona squad this season, and faces the prospect of added competition in central defence come the summer, with Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt a potential arrival.
Speaking after his Gunners side were consigned to a 1-0 defeat at Everton, Emery admitted his admiration for Umtiti and recounted the significant influence of French players in his former teams.
He told RMC (as quoted by Mundo Deportivo): “He is a very good player. France has very good players abroad.
“But the French league is a very attractive market for many teams. I myself have always had French players in my teams, in Valencia, Sevilla, Paris and here in Arsenal. And I’ve always been able to count on these players.”
According to Mundo Deportivo, Umtiti’s potential move to the Emirates could be helped by the presence of former Barcelona man Raul Sanllehi, who is the Gunners’ current director of football.
Having started his professional career at French side Lyon, Umtiti made his high-profile move to Barcelona in the summer of 2016 for a fee in the region of €25m.
The 25-year-old has since made 94 appearances for the Catalan giants, scoring two goals, and has won La Liga once and the Copa del Rey on two separate occasions during his time in Spain.