Man United dealt massive blow in race for the 24-year-old French star

Barcelona are reportedly redoubling their attempts to keep defender Samuel Umtiti in Spain amid stories linking him with Manchester United.

The club earlier opened talks with the player’s agent about signing a new contract, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

Umtiti is under contract with the Catalan side until 2021. However, his current deal is believed to include a €60m (£52m) release clause that interested sides could trigger.

The Stories linking the 24-year-old with the Barca exit appeared following rumours that the club’s hierarchy was annoyed with his display last week’s 3-0 loss at Roma, which knocked them out of the Champions League.

The Frenchman joined Barca from French giants Lyon in 2016.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to splash the cash on Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.

The North Londoners want to land a new central midfielder this summer as doubts stay over Jack Wilshere’s future and Santi Cazorla’s fitness.

The Gunners have been linked with signing up Max Mayer from Schalke on a free, however now they have set their hopes on a bigger prize.

Indeed, as reported by the AS, Arsene Wenger wants to land Saul this summer after watching him in action.

The Spaniard has earlier been linked with a big-money move to Manchester United after several eye-catching displays in La Liga.

Now, though, it is Arsenal who are set to test the resolve of their Europa League semi-final rivals with a summer offer.

The North Londoners, who have never faced the Spaniards competitively, will meet Diego Simeone’s men for an opportunity to face either Marseille or Red Bull Salzburg in the final.