£21m bid accepted! Tough tackling CB confirms talks with Arsenal after agreeing terms

Given the antecedent of Arsene Wenger, top footballers hardly reject the call to join Arsenal by the French tactician.

However, SAMUEL UMTITI rejected a move to the Premier League to join Barcelona last summer, the defender has revealed.

manager Antonio Conte was seeking defensive recruits upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

And Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was also plotting deals, with the future of veteran centre-back Per Mertesacker in doubt at the Emirates.

But Barca got to the 23-year-old first and secured a deal with Lyon worth around £21million.

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And Umtiti told Canal+ he is relieved to have joined Barca over a move to England.

“It was always a dream for me to play here [at Barca],” Umtiti said.

“I must be the happiest man in the world. There was another club other than Barca, there were English clubs too.

“I could have earned a lot more money, but I wasn’t interested. For me, it was Barcelona and not another team.”

Chelsea eventually signed David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain in a £35m deal on deadline day last summer, while Arsenal secured Shkodran Mustafi’s arrival from Valencia.

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