Arsenal may not need to splash out on Umtiti.
Speculation linking Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti with Arsenal is doing the rounds again, but it’s perhaps not as strong as it has been in the past.
The latest on this saga comes from the Daily Star, who claim the Gunners could be interested in signing the France international, provided Barcelona lower their asking price from the £50million they wanted for him last summer.
The report also mentions quite rightly that Mikel Arteta has highly-rated young centre-back William Saliba returning from loan at Saint-Etienne next season, while Pablo Mari has impressed on loan at the Emirates Stadium.
It certainly seems like Arteta could do well to give both Saliba and Mari a good run as regular starters before feeling the need to splash the cash on someone like Umtiti.
While we all want to see the most established, proven quality players at Arsenal, there’s not much sense in over-paying for someone with a poor recent injury record when we have defenders with us who are yet to get to their full potential.
Saliba looks a particularly exciting talent who could be ready to play regularly straight away, and it would be a shame if someone like Umtiti were to come in and block his progress.
Like it or not, Arsenal is a club that needs to accept operating on a stricter budget than most of our rivals, and that could mean more smart low-cost signings like Mari over Umtiti, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Our scouting will clearly be geared up towards that, but we’ll never know if we’ve discovered a bargain gem in Mari if we don’t give him the time to play and to develop under the expert guidance of Arteta, who will have been recruited precisely because of his ability to improve players like him and Saliba.