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I COULD HAVE JOINED ARSENAL – UMTITI

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has addressed the recent transfer talk that suggested he could move to the Premier League to join Arsenal.

The France defender was heavily linked with a transfer to the Emirates Stadium as Unai Emery searched for defensive reinforcements to bolster his side for the 2019/20 campaign.

In May, Spanish media reported that the France international could be used as makeweight in a deal to bring striker Alexandre Lacazette to the Camp Nou should they fail to land Antoine Griezmann.

As the summer progressed, Umtiti was a name that regularly appeared in the discussion, with a suggestion that Arsenal were chasing the former Lyon defender, but he has now revealed that was not the case.

“Honestly, I don’t know where this rumour with Arsenal came from,” he said. “Overnight, I received messages from my friends ‘ah, so you are joining Arsenal?’ I’m not, I’m sorry but I’m staying at Barcelona.

“Contacts with Arsenal? To be honest, I don’t know if they had conversations with my agent, I just told him that I didn’t care what was happening this summer and that it wasn’t even necessary to talk to me about it.

“It was useless, I was going to have the same answer.

“My dream as a child is to play for Barcelona.

“Last season was the most difficult of my career, especially in terms of injuries.”

In the end Arsenal ended up letting Laurent Koscielny go and replaced him with David Luiz from Chelsea.

Youngster William Saliba was also recruited, but he’s spending the season on loan at Saint-Etienne in order to continue his development.

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