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Arsenal begins negotiations to seal Samuel Umtiti transfer ahead of Manchester United

Arsenal chiefs have held talks with Barcelona about signing Samuel Umtiti this summer, reports say.

The Gunners are battling Premier League Manchester United for the Frenchman’s signature, who has been put up for sale by his club.

Barcelona want to offload Umtiti to raise transfer funds for their summer targets and have a host of clubs vying for Umtiti.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport claim Arsenal’s director of football Raul Sanllehi has been in contact with his counterpart at Barcelona, Eric Abidal, about signing Umtiti.

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While Arsenal are very interested in bringing Umtiti to England, they may be priced out of any deal for the 25-year-old. Barcelona reportedly value the centre-back between £60million and £77m, which would be out of Arsenal’s price range.

Arsenal may have as little as £40m to spend this summer should they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Unai Emery’s side sit in fourth place, two points ahead of United in fifth and three points clear of Chelsea in sixth. Umtiti has given no public indication he wants to leave Barcelona and is a popular figure in the dressing room.

But Barcelona are keen to sign defender Matthijs de Ligt and will need to offload some players in order to meet Ajax’s asking price.

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