The official Chelsea website has reported on their own alleged interest in signing Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti.
That report cites Italian journalist Nicolò Schira, a self-described ‘Expert in Transfermarkt’, who regularly tweets transfer rumours which are not published in any official media outlets.
Nonetheless, many outlets subsequently report on his unverified tweets as a source of information for transfer rumours.
It is claimed that both the Blues and Arsenal are interested in landing the France international and claims Chelsea would have made a move last summer had it not been for their transfer ban.
It appears to follow directly from a report in Diario Sport last month, which said that the Gunners had been put ‘on alert’ by the news that Umtiti may be available for transfer.
It is said that Gunners boss believes Umtiti can be the ideal long-term central defensive partner for William Saliba, who will join the club permanently from Saint-Etienne this summer.
It follows a report in Diario Sport that claimed the Blaugrana had place Umtiti on the transfer market and see him as a crucial way to boost their transfer budget this year, with another English club – Manchester United – keen on a deal.
Umtiti has a contract with Barça until 2023 with a termination clause of €500m – although it is likely that the club would negotiate a sale far below that valuation.
The Catalan giants signed the player for €25m from Olympique Lyonnais in 2016 and they see the Premier League as an ideal destination for the central defender.
The France international has been struggling with a persistent knee injury for the past year, with the club alternating between treatments in order to solve the issue.
After the issued was flagged up by club doctors back in November 2018, he underwent a period of rehabilitation in Qatar, before undergoing minor surgery back in Spain.
The Blaugrana are said to have been more persistent for the defender to get full surgery on the issue, while the player instead opted to go for more conservative treatments.
The Cameroon-born defender, who has lost his place in the France international side with Clement Lenglet – his Barca teammate – often preferred in both line-ups.