On Tuesday afternoon, French website Foot Mercato linked Olympique Lyonnais defender Samuel Umtiti with a summer move to Arsenal. They were not the only club mentioned in the story, with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and clubs from Spain and Germany all mentioned as having some level of interest.
It feels like Umtiti's name has around the game for many years now, this season is his fourth in the Lyon first team and under Hubert Fournier he has been an ever-present.
By the end of the season, Umtiti will have played over 100 Ligue 1 games for Les Gones before he turns 22. Similar to the rise of teammate Alexandre Lacazette, Umtiti has paid his dues and developed through the Lyon system and impressed at every level.
What do you get from Samuel Umtiti?
Naturally a centre-back, Umtiti has played at left-back through stages of his career, Spurs fans may remember the stunning strike at White Hart Lane from playing that role. During his early years he was used in both positions. He is not the best crosser of the ball so he added little from an attacking perspective, but defensively he was superb all over the pitch.
He is a great one-on-one defender, with the pace and strength to battle against all types of attackers. Umtiti is wonderful in the air and reads the game well for someone so young.
Could he handle the Premier League?
There is no league better at preparing players for the physicality of the Premier League than Ligue 1. In the last 18 months, Umtiti has been one of the more senior players in the team and has organised the back line. He is always comfortable on the ball, and can either bring it out from the back or pick a long pass.
Umtiti wouldn’t be fazed by the physical nature of the league and although it would take some time to adapt to the constant pace of the game, he has the attributes to adapt very quickly.
Will he leave?
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has a plan to keep all his stars for the new season, but if it meant keeping Lacazette and Nabil Fekir for another season, he would likely let one or two stars go. Lyon are not strong in defence, so it would be a huge void to fill.
It would surely take a bid of over £15 million to prize him away, but there is no doubt he would be worth the initial outlay.