The World Cup-winning defender has seen a summer switch away from Camp Nou mooted, but the France international is looking to stay put

Samuel Umtiti is expecting to stay at Barcelona this summer, despite seeing a “difficult season” spark talk of a possible move to Arsenal.

The France international is only a year out from helping his country to World Cup glory.

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He was already regarded as one of the finest centre-halves on the planet at that point, with success in Russia only serving to cement that standing.

An injury-ravaged 2018-19 campaign has, however, seen questions asked of his value at Camp Nou.

Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have formed a solid partnership at the heart of Barcelona’s defence, leaving others on the outside looking in.

That has led to talk of Umtiti heading for the exits, with the Premier League mooted as a potential landing spot, but the 25-year-old insists he is not looking for a new challenge.

He told Hypebeast: “The quality of life is great. For me, it’s the best place to play and live. 

“The place, the mentality of the people, my team, the players that I meet daily, frankly I could not have dreamt of better. 

“Every day I feel happy to live my passion, and what’s more to do that here in Barcelona. 

“The adaptation went very well, I was very well received. They were very cool with me, even though I did not speak too much Spanish we managed to understand each other and everyone helped me a lot.”

Umtiti believes he is over the fitness issues which have led to him taking in enforced spells on the sidelines.

He made just 13 starts in La Liga last season, but feels he is ready to kick on into 2019-20, saying: “I’m better.

“It’s true that it was a difficult season due to the injury but I knew it was going to happen, that there had to be a transition because I had a lot of difficulties during the World Cup.

“I think it was a good thing and it was worth it.

“At the end of the season I was able to play again and I recovered my fitness. Now I will prepare for the next season and be at 200%.”

If Umtiti is to stay put, then the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United – who have been linked with him on a regular basis in recent windows – will have to turn their sights elsewhere.