Arsenal in pole positon signing World Cup winning star

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Arsenal are leading the race for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, it has been claimed.

Unai Emery has also made it clear that he would be interested in a deal for Umtiti by claiming that the 25-year-old is a ‘very good player’ in an interview with French television earlier this month.

The France international could leave the Nou Camp this summer after falling behind Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique in the pecking order.

Roma are also considering Umtiti with Manchester United interested in signing Kostas Manolas.

Umtiti has made just 12 appearances in all competitions this season for the Catalan club.

However, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told Arsenal that they do not plan to sell Umtiti this summer.

Bartomeu is adamant that Barca are planning to keep Umtiti. ‘He renewed him before the World Cup, he has four years left on his contract and there is no Umtiti issue,’ Bartomeu told TVE.

‘Now he has to recover from his injury as we want to have him in the best form possible. ‘Having Umtiti and [Clement] Lenglet on the left [side of central defence] is a guarantee and I would like him to continue.’

Ousmane Dembele has also been previously linked with a move to Arsenal but Bartomeu now considers the 21-year-old better than Neymar.

‘It’s not possible for Neymar to come to Barcelona as we have another sporting project with Dembele and [Philippe] Coutinho,’ said Bartomeu.

‘We are happy with what we have, as Dembele is better than Neymar and he is a good professional player.

‘He is a young guy who arrived at a huge club and that’s not easy, but he has adapted and he is much better than Neymar.’

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