Why Arsenal should have signed Samuel Umtiti when they had the chance
According to a report in the Metro in the summer, Samuel Umtiti was up for sale and Arsenal were seriously considering his signature.
The World Cup winner has been one of the outstanding defenders for the past couple of years but he has a serious problem with his left knee, which has been a cause for concern. With the way the new season has started for him at Barcelona, it’s unlikely to get any better.
So much so, that he nearly lost his place in the national squad but was called up only due to the injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte.
He missed most of last season due to an injury to it and saw Clement Lenglet being preferred to him in a lot of games after the former Sevilla man really impressed in a partnership with Gerrard Pique.
Gerrard Pique also enjoyed one of his best seasons in recent years and isn’t looking like he’s slowing down after retiring from his national team.
Pique will be more than capable of putting in similar performances at the highest level, leaving Umtiti’s place in the first-team in doubt.
Umtiti is too good a player to be sitting on the bench. The French international is one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in the world and is a good one-versus-one defender. He is athletic and has great recovery pace. He’s also a vocal player, despite only being 25.
Arsenal have been desperate for defensive reinforcements for years. With Laurent Koscielny having left the club and David Luiz not really doing much in the first 4 games of the season to inspire any confidence into that backline, it looks like Arsenal still haven’t found the answers that they’ve been looking for.
Rob Holding is still recovering from a serious injury and Shkodran Mustafi looks no closer to leaving without adequate replacements. Hence, Samuel Umtiti would be an enormous improvement on that backline.
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He’s also completely fit in with Unai Emery’s principles of initiating attacks from the back and is a more natural option in that left-side of defence as he’s left-footed.
This is something that Emery couldn’t achieve last season and looks no closer to doing so this season.
The French contingent at Arsenal will also help him settle into the club quickly and Arsenal’s own history with French players will help sell the idea. Arsenal should’ve done more in the summer to sign him as he looks available.