Deal Close: Man United edge closer of signing £52m Barcelona star

Manchester United have reportedly edged closer to the signing of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.

The France international has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months, with United and Manchester City apparently willing to meet the player’s £52m release clause.

According to The Express, the Barca hierarchy were not pleased with Umtiti’s performance in Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Roma, which knocked the Blaugrana out of the Champions League.

The report suggests that the 24-year-old will be replaced in the summer by Nice centre-back Malang Sarr for £52m, allowing Jose Mourinho to recruit the Barca man in a bid to bolster his defence.

Umtiti has made 79 appearances for Barca since his 2016 move from Lyon.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly ready to battle Manchester United for the signature of Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

The 29-year-old, who has also been linked with Juventus, will see his current deal with Dortmund expire at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

United have recently been credited with an interest in the 79-time Greece international, but according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is also keen on the powerful centre-back.

Papastathopoulos has scored three times in 38 appearances for Dortmund during the 2017-18 campaign.