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
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
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.