According to the Guardian, Arsenal remain confident of completing the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba despite Tottenham’s late attempts to hijack our £27m deal.
Saliba has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium all summer and it looked like a deal was on the verge of completion after the BBC reported earlier this week that Arsenal had agreed a £27m fee with Saint-Etienne.
The report said we’d caved to their demands to send Saliba back on loan for next season and I even saw suggestions the centre-back was due to fly-in to London to complete his move to Arsenal.
However, news broke this afternoon that Tottenham have tried to derail our deal. The Guardian claim Spurs have offered the same £27m fee but they’re willing to include slightly better add-ons and it’s reported they want to try and seal a deal over the weekend.
BBC journalist David Ornstein confirmed Arsenal’s deal was extremely close to completion before Tottenham’s late move. He said on Twitter:
Negotiations between Arsenal, Saint Etienne and Saliba were in their very final stages – much of it already in the hands of lawyers to agree wording of contracts etc – but Tottenham have reignited their interest and are now pushing hard to get the deal completed
It would be a major embarrassment for us to miss out on Saliba to our main rivals as this was meant to have been a ‘done deal’ and Saliba was supposed to be the future of our defence for years to come. To see him end up at Tottenham would have been gut wrenching.
However, the Guardian claim Arsenal are still confident of seeing-off Tottenham’s attempts to hijack the deal as we believe Saliba will stick to his word and join the club after already agreeing terms over a five-year contract.
The 18-year-old is seen as Arsenal’s long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny and he’s highly-rated back in France after breaking into the Saint-Etienne first team last season so hopefully we can get this proposed deal over the line.
We’ll have to see how things develop over the coming days but it will be a new low for Arsenal if we lose Saliba to that lot up the road.