Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has said he'll pitch in to convince French compatriots Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette to move to the Camp Nou after both have been linked with the club in the past.
Umtiti spoke to Catalan newspaper Ara (h/t Joe Short of the Daily Express) and said he'd attempt to lure his fellow France internationals to Barca and tell them "not to hesitate" in pursuing the move:
“I have a great friendship with them. Lacazette advised me well when Barca called me. Now he wants to win with Arsenal, although it would not be a bad idea to see him at the Camp Nou.
“We already watch [Griezmann] at Atletico, he is a top level player. If there are options, I will tell him not to hesitate and to come to Barca.”
Griezmann was on the verge of joining Manchester United this past summer, but The Telegraph explained how the transfer was halted after Griezmann decided to sign a new contract. Atletico's transfer ban as a result of their breach of rules related to signing minors was thought to be a major factor.
However, the striker's form has dipped so far this season, and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan recently outlined his fall in standards, raising the question as to whether he's still worth the same outlay:
Lacazette would likely be the more difficult target for Barcelona given he only joined Arsenal from Lyon—where he was team-mates with Umtiti until the latter joined Barca in 2016—this past summer.
The 26-year-old has netted five goals in 10 Premier League appearances for the Gunners this season, but Squawka hinted how his production might have been limited by the absence of his more elite team-mates:
Barcelona already boast one of the most devastating attacking lineups in Europe, with Ousmane Dembele having arrived as a replacement for Neymar following his £200 million move to Paris Saint-Germain in August.
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi are the other superstars filling out the Blaugrana's trident, although manager Ernesto Valverde could consider an alternative to the former considering his drop-off in scoring, per Spanish daily AS:
Atletico's silverware prospects this season have already suffered, with Los Rojiblancos on the verge of a UEFA Champions League exit and eight points off La Liga leaders Barca.
United may have signed Romelu Lukaku in a £75 million this summer, but Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News hasn't ruled them out of providing competition for Griezmann next year:
Umtiti once played alongside Lacazette at Lyon and could have a better chance tempting him to Catalonia if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League again this season, although convincing the Gunners to sell will be a tall order.
Having an insider for both forward targets is undoubtedly an advantage in both cases, however, and Barca may well encourage their centre-back star to play agent in the hope he can turn their ears.