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Arsenal walk away from Barcelona outcast as huge demands are revealed

Arsenal have abandoned their interest in signing Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti after a report broke down the high price the French defender would have cost.

The LaLiga leaders are looking to make wholesale changes this summer and are reported to have put a number of high-profile stars up for sale.

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Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele will be the highest profile casualties, with the likes of Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Nelson Semedo, Carles Alena and Arthur also reportedly up for sale should suitable bids come along.

And 26-year-old World Cup winner Umtiti is likely to be one of the first through the exit door with the player having been beset by a series of crippling knee problems over the past 18 months.

As per Sport, Umtiti was placed on the transfer list last summer but his injury issues meant clubs were reluctant to approach with offers.

With the Frenchman slowly returning to full fitness this season, the source adds that Barca feel this summer would be their best opportunity to sell up.

As such, the Spanish paper claims Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli had all been in touch with Barca over a potential deal for Umtiti.

However, Barca’s asking price €50m has put off all three suitors, with Sport suggesting not one of his potential buyers were prepared to spend such a sum on a defender who has featured just 31 times over the past two seasons.



And while the report, via Sport Witness, claims Barcelona would have been willing to negotiate in a bid to flog the defender to Arsenal, it has also emerged that Umtiti is also said to be asking for wages worth €8m a season.

That €8m a year figure would equate to £132,000 a week which – while the Gunners do have players earning more – would elevate him to among their top-five earners; again something that would be difficult to justify given his lack of action of late.

As such, Sport claims Arsenal have walked away from the deal and Mikel Arteta and Edu are more likely to pursue two alternatives instead.

Top of their wish list, as per widespread reports, is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, who is very much in their thinking.

However, his €60m asking price will probably rule the Gunners out from making a move, especially with the 21-year-old Frenchman having just a year left on his current deal come the summer.

As such, the man the Gunners look most likely to bring in is Roma loanee Chris Smalling, with the £25m fee placed on his head by Manchester United unlikely to be an issue.

United, for their part, are looking at signing a cheap Real Valladolid defender as Smalling’s replacement after being given a helping hand by Juan Mata.


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