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Arsenal ‘to open talks with St Etienne for £27m-rated defender William Saliba’

Arsenal are reportedly set to go head-to-head with north London rivals Tottenham and open talks with Saint-Etienne regarding a £27million move for defender William Saliba.  

The highly-rated central defender has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in Ligue 1, becoming an established part of Jean-Louis Gasset’s much improved outfit.

Spurs are also chasing the 18-year-old, according to reports, with the north London club primed to open talks with the player. 

Arsenal are reportedly set to open talks with Saint-Etienne for 18-year-old William Saliba

Saliba is also wanted by Tottenham and will cost the north London clubs £27million to sign

Saliba is also wanted by Tottenham and will cost the north London clubs £27million to sign

L’Equipewrite that Unai Emery’s side remain the 18-year-old’s preferred destination this summer after agreeing a provisional contract with the club last week.

The French outlet state Arsenal will open talks with Saint-Etienne, who are demanding €30m (£27m), and that the player is loaned back to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the entirety of next season.

The Gunners’ transfer budget has been restricted this summer to £45m after they failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Emery has prioritised defensive improvements, although the club have also seen a £15million bid for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney rejected.

Unai Emery is operating with a restricted budget and has also been linked with Kieran Tierney

Unai Emery is operating with a restricted budget and has also been linked with Kieran Tierney

Saliba, who signed his first professional contract a 12 months ago, made 16 appearances in Ligue 1 last term, becoming a first staple from mid-February.

The defender grew up in Bondy, the same town as France star Kylian Mbappe, and he was coached by the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s father at AS Bondy before joining Saint-Etienne.

Saliba is a French youth international who represented Les Bleus at the Under-20 World Cup earlier this month.

He played his part as Les Verts achieved European qualification with a fourth place finish, five points clear of Marseille and two wins shy of fierce rivals Lyon, who occupied the final Champions League spot.  

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7178389/Arsenal-open-talks-St-Etienne-27m-rated-defender-William-Saliba.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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