Arsenal boss Unai Emery wants Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has dropped a massive hint that he would approve of his club approaching Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti: “He’s a great player.”

The France international has missed five months of this season with a knee injury but is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders in world football.

A report in Diario Sport last week claimed the Blaugrana would be open to selling the defender to Manchester United this summer should a €70m offer come in, while Arsenal have also been linked.

“He is a great player,” Emery told RMC Sport, as cited by Diario Sport.

“France produces many players who have successful careers abroad and the players are developed in such a way to make it a very attractive market.

“I have always been able to count on these players during my times at Valencia, Sevilla, PSG and now here at Arsenal.”

The Cameroon-born defender, who joined from Lyon in 2016, has formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Gerard Pique at the Camp Nou.

However, the Blaugrana are keen on a deal for Ajax captain and central defender Matthijs de Ligt and reportedly need to raise funds in order to further first-team reinvestment.

The emergence of Clement Lenglet and the pursuit of de Ligt has clouded his future at Barca, who reportedly need to raise funds from first-team squad sales in order to add new signings.

The report in Sport claims there is a degree of tension between the player and the club, who no longer see him as indispensable and where a sale may be logical.

It follows on from a report in El Mundo Deportivo earlier in the week that a move to Old Trafford this summer is a possibility.

Umtiti signed a new contract at the Camp Nou in June 2018 until 2024 with a huge €500m release clause, but that could become irrelevant should the club need sales this summer.

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