Many claimed it to be on the verge. Some claimed they had insider knowledge of the club approaching the player. Some even said that Arsenal were the top of the queue for his signature.
All were completely wrong, as Samuel Umtiti has categorically stated he will still be a Barcelona player next season.
After only joining one year ago and having an injury hit campaign that saw Clement Lenglet jump ahead of him in the Barca pecking order, Umtiti has unsurprisingly chosen to quash any spurious stories of his impending departure by declaring his immediate future to the Catalan club – and making a fist of his situation rather than jumping ship.
The French defender said that “I’m happy at Barca. It’s been a complicated season but it’s not one that would make me want a move to another team. I’ll be with Barcelona next season.”
That leaves no room for manoeuvre for the rumour merchants, and it allows us to draw a line under certain social accounts that mentioned his name in conjunction with an Arsenal move with an air of insider knowledge – given that they had absolutely no information whatsoever.
It is a move that makes sense for both the player and the club of course. And that is why the story was so appealing. Our captain and defensive stalwart, Laurent Koscielny, is on his last legs now, and with Shkodran Mustafi proving to all and sundry that he is not the answer we were looking for, it leaves just Sokratis – also in his thirties – and Rob Holding as our sole central defensive representatives, if you discount the returning Calum Chambers.
Unai Emery will no doubt be looking for a defensive addition given our squad situation, but Samuel Umtiti now declaring that he will be staying at Barca should surprise no-one with an ounce of sanity. Given his situation and his eagerness to prove himself at the highest level, a move to a non-Champions League playing club was never on the cards – especially given our meagre budget.
We will obviously sign players this summer, but remember this story and how we have been fed line after line of lies. Not everything you read that claims to be from an inside source is true.
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