Revealed reason why 25-year-old defender refused to move to Arsenal

Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti has laughed off reports that Gunners tried to sign him over the transfer window amid Alexandre Lacazette making a plea for the defender to join. Arsenal manager Unai Emery was eager to bolster his back-line during the summer and eventually brought in David Luiz from Chelsea in an £8m deal.

London club had been linked with a move for France international, among several other top defenders, but Samuel says, to his knowledge, there was never anything of substance to the rumours. He was shown a clip of old Lyon partner Lacazette trying to set up a reunion at the Emirates Stadium but only burst out laughing.

‘Honestly, I don’t know where this talks with the Gunners came from,’ the 25-year-old defender said in response to the video. ‘Overnight, I received messages from my friends saying, “Ah, so you are joining Gunners?” I’m not, I’m sorry, but I’m remaining at Camp Nou.’

Probed further on whether there had been contacted with the London club, French centre-back continued: ‘To be honest, I don’t know if they had talks with my agent, I only told him that I didn’t care what was happening this transfer window and that it wasn’t even necessary to talk to me about this.

‘It was useless, I was going to have a similar answer. My dream as a child is to play for the Catalan club. Last campaign was the most difficult of my career, especially in terms of injuries.’ Samuel struggled with a knee problem last campaign and lost his place in the Barcelona side to compatriot Clement Lenglet.