Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has dismissed any contact between the Catalan giants and Arsenal over the summer as “useless”, insisting he always intended to stay put.
The France international was heavily linked with a switch to north London during the transfer window after falling behind compatriot Clement Lenglet in the Barcelona pecking order.
Did Umtiti come close to joining Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Umtiti managed just 15 appearances in all competitions for Barca in 2018/19.
- As such, he fell behind Lenglet in the centre-back pecking order.
- The France international was linked with a move to Arsenal over the summer.
- But the Gunners ended up signing David Luiz from Chelsea.
- Umtiti says he never intended to leave Barca, shutting down the Arsenal rumours.
But Umtiti has now claimed a move to Arsenal was never something he considered as his only thought was to remain with Barca, while the Gunners opted to sign David Luiz from Chelsea in the end.
“Honestly, I don’t know where this rumour with Arsenal came from,” he told Canal Football Club.
“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.”
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Injury restricted Umiti to just 15 appearances in all competitions last season, while further problems have ruled him out of the France squad for the latest round of international fixtures.
As such, it was thought the 25-year-old could be used as a makeweight in a deal to bring Neymar back to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain, although Umtiti himself dismisses that idea as “crazy”.
He added: “Exchange for Neymar? It’s crazy.
“It made me laugh, I don’t even have an answer to where it comes from.”
Barca have made an unconvincing start to the new La Liga season, sitting eighth after just one win from three games.
Ernesto Valverde’s men host Valencia on Saturday.