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Arsenal 'considering Samuel Umtiti move amid William Saliba concerns'

Arsenal 'considering Umtiti move amid Saliba concerns'
© Reuters
Arsenal are reportedly offered the chance to sign Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti as doubts persist over William Saliba's future at the club.

Arsenal are reportedly considering a move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti amid concerns surrounding William Saliba's future at the club.

World Cup winner Umtiti remains out of the picture at Camp Nou under Xavi, but Barcelona were pressured into handing the Frenchman a contract extension with a salary decrease in January.

Umtiti's previous terms were due to expire at the end of the season, but by taking a pay cut, his new deal allowed Barcelona to register Ferran Torres following his move from Manchester City.

The 28-year-old was out for three months with a fractured toe earlier this year, but he has been frozen out of the squad either way - making only one appearance in La Liga this season.

Umtiti's sole outing saw him play the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Osasuna back in December, and he has been an unused substitute on 21 occasions this season.

Marseille's William Saliba pictured in March 2022© Reuters

As a result, the former Lyon man is still widely expected to be offloaded this summer in spite of his new deal, and a return to the Groupama Stadium has been mooted.

Nice, Montpellier HSC and Rennes are also thought to be interested in the centre-back, but according to the Daily Star, Arsenal have now been offered the chance to sign him this summer.

Mikel Arteta is yet to hand Saliba his first-team debut for the North London side since his 2019 arrival, but the 21-year-old has thrived on loan at Marseille during his third temporary spell away from the club.

Saliba was named the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for the 2021-22 season - as well as making the Team of the Year - and his exploits have also seen him break into the France national team setup.

The former Saint-Etienne man is due to return to Arsenal for the 2022-23 campaign, but the report adds that "doubts persist" over his future at the Emirates.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on May 12, 2022© Reuters

Marseille are keen to keep Saliba on the books at the Orange Velodrome, and Les Olympiens are well-placed to qualify for the Champions League ahead of the final day of the season.

Saliba has refused to rule out a longer stay in his homeland when questioned throughout the past year, but he remains under contract at Arsenal for another two years, and Arteta is expected to integrate him into the first team from next season alongside Ben White, Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes.

The youngster has already made a whopping 51 appearances for Jorge Sampaoli's side in all competitions this season, while he has featured a mere eight times for the Gunners' Under-23s.

Meanwhile, Umtiti has two goals and one assist from 133 games in a Barcelona shirt, winning two La Liga titles and three Copa del Reys during his time in Catalonia.

Marseille will aim to seal a top-three finish in Ligue 1 during Saturday evening's battle with Strasbourg, while Arsenal must beat Everton and hope Tottenham Hotspur lose to Norwich City in order to qualify for the Champions League on the last day of the Premier League season.

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