Terms agreed: Arsenal trump Man Utd after agreeing 5-year deal with £26m star
Arsenal have beaten off competition from Man Utd for the signing of William Saliba after agreeing personal terms with the Saint-Etienne centre-back
Managers are working hard trying to strengthen their squads during the summer transfer window so we’ll bring you all the latest news and gossip from around the globe. Today, Arsenal are closing in on William Saliba…
Arsenal appear to have beaten off competition from Manchester United for the signing of William Saliba after agreeing personal terms with the Saint-Etienne centre-back, according to Foot Mercato.
Saliba emerged as one of the most highly-rated young defenders in French football last season after breaking into the Saint-Etienne first team and he played a key role in helping them secure fourth-placed in the Ligue 1 table.
The 18-year-old’s potential alerted clubs here in the Premier League with Foot Mercato claiming that Arsenal and Manchester United are among the clubs to have expressed their interest in bringing him to England.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is revamping his squad this summer after United finished sixth last season and Saliba could have been lined-up as a long-term partner for Victor Lindelof amid on-going doubts over the futures of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
However, it looks like Arsenal have trumped their rivals as Foot Mercato are one of several French outlets who’re reporting today that the Gunners have now agreed personal terms with Saliba over a five-year contract.
The publication says Arsenal are now trying to thrash out a deal with Saint-Etienne and the French Under-19 international is understood to be keen to test himself in the Premier League.
However, the centre-back may have to wait another year as L’Equipe claim Saliba is expected to be sent straight back to Saint-Etienne on loan for next season as part of any deal with the Gunners.
Unai Emery needs to strengthen his squad over the coming weeks and defence has become a priority after Arsenal conceded 51 goals in the league last season to finish fifth in the table.
Shkodran Mustafi is being linked with a move away this summer while Laurent Koscielny’s future at the Emirates is in doubt as he has just one year left on his contract and it seems Saliba has been identified as his long-term replacement.
However, Emery is working on a tight budget after failing to qualify for the Champions League and Le10Sport claim Saliba will cost around £26m [€30m] so it will be something of a surprise if Arsenal decide to use the majority of their kitty on a player that won’t be available for another 12 months.
Let’s see how things develop over the coming days as there is still time for Man Utd to table a rival contract offer but as it stands it looks like Arsenal are in pole position to sign Saliba and he should be an exciting addition to their ranks.
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