By 90Min
April 18, 2019

Arsenal may have identified a cheaper alternative to Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti as the Gunners look to strengthen their defensive ranks this summer, with €35m-rated Mainz star Jean-Philippe Gbamin a rumoured target.


Umtiti's future at Barcelona has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks after the Frenchman's injury hit season has seen him fall out of favour, even when fit.

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Arsenal and Manchester United were the two Premier League clubs tipped to take advantage of that and sign the World Cup winner, but Umtiti himself is believed to be confident of winning his place back, while Barcelona would be in a strong position to command a vast transfer.

Instead, Arsenal, for whom budgetary constraints could impact summer transfer policy, Gbamin appears to have emerged as a cheaper and potentially more viable alternative.

A report originating in Germany and shared by Sport Witness names Arsenal as an interested party, alongside other un-named Premier League clubs.

Simon Hofmann/GettyImages

Mainz are in the bottom half of the Bundesliga this season, but 23-year-old Gbamin has seemingly caught the eye. The Ivory Coast international joined the German club from Lens in 2016 and remains under contract until 2023 after only signing a new long-term deal last summer.

It has been rumoured in recent months that Shkodran Mustafi could be shown the door at the Emirates Stadium this summer. Bought for £35m in 2016, the World Cup winner has struggled to justify his transfer fee ever since and has been in and out of the team since Christmas.

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Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Konstantinos Mavropanos and the long-term injured Rob Holding are Arsenal's other centre-back options, while Calum Chambers will return from a loan spell at Fulham at the end of the season.

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