Arsenal reportedly shut down by center-back Samuel Umtiti this month

Arsenal’s approach for Barcelona center-back Samuel Umtiti was reportedly shut down by the France international this month, as he aims to fight for a spot under Setien.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal have serious issues with quality in their backline. Sure, things have improved since Emery left the club, but that simply means the players are playing in a better system – not that the players have somehow gotten better. They are still prone to errors, as we saw at Stamford Bridge when Mustafi’s error caused David Luiz to get sent off.

Therefore, the Gunners need to shore up their defensive core, and they know it too. While they’ve already signed Pablo Mari from Flamengo this month, Marca reports that Arsenal even made an approach for Samuel Umtiti earlier in the window.

The France international has fallen down the pecking order at the Nou Camp, and faces an uphill battle to get back into the squad over Clement Lenglet.

However, the introduction of new manager Quique Setien has transformed Umtiti’s mentality, as he now feels he has a chance of breaking back into the XI and proving himself under the new manager – something that looked more and more difficult to achieve as Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona tenure dragged on.

Umtiti was considered one of the best center-backs in the world just a few years ago, most notably around the time when he won the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France as a starter next to Varane, but things have died down for him over the past year as the injury curse has hit him a bit.

The Gunners will reportedly go back in for the player in the summer.

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Attempting to discuss terms with Barcelona for Umtiti is ambitious thinking from Arsenal however, and that deserves some praise. The club sits 10th in the league though, and they’ll have to improve from within before they start succeeding in their chase for targets as prominent as Umtiti.