• Arsenal lead United in chase for centre-back

    Arsenal and Manchester United are favourites to sign French defender Samuel Umtiti from Barcelona, according to reports.

    Manchester United and Roma are also in the race but it’s the Gunners who lead the chase, according to Tutto Mercato.

    Umtiti has missed chunks of the season with injury and is yet to regain a regular starting berth, but he is also said to be stalling over their last contract offer.

    Arsenal want to improve their defence as a priority this summer and Umtiti appears to be their favoured target.

    However, Barcelona chief Josep Bartemu has been defiant in his response about the Umtiti rumours.

    ‘He renewed before the World Cup; he has four years left on his contract and there is no Umtiti issue,’ he said.

    ‘He has to regain form after recovering from his injury, as we want to have him in the best form possible.

    ‘He and [Clement] Lenglet are two of the best left-footed central defenders and at Barça we want the best.’

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