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Pendulum swings again as Arsenal reportedly match Tottenham’s bid for defender

The race for William Saliba has taken another twist. Arsenal have now reportedly matched Tottenham’s bid for Saint-Etienne defender Saliba, according to RMC Sport.

Saliba is at the centre of a transfer tussle between North London’s two clubs. This report adds that Saint-Etienne are benefitting from this transfer saga as Arsenal and Spurs appear to have entered a bidding war.

This is driving the France U20 international’s price up. Tottenham made a bid of around £27m plus add-ons, blowing Arsenal’s original bid out of the water. The Gunners were the clear favourites to win the race for Saliba until Tottenham’s late hijack attempt.

(Photo by Alexandre Dimou/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

But Arsenal, determined not to miss out, have matched the bid. Unai Emery regards the 18-year-old as one of the best young defenders in the game and does not want Spurs to win the race.

Saint-Etienne will now sit back and watch the auction. The Ligue 1 club appear resigned to the fact that the teenager will leave so they are holding out for as much money as possible.

Who needs William Saliba more?

If both clubs bid for Saliba, the youngster has a career-defining decision to make. But who needs him more? Arsenal or Tottenham?

The answer is probably Emery’s men. With Laurent Koscielny refusing to train, Rob Holding only just recovering from an ACL injury and Shkodran Mustafi struggling with his form, the defence is an area that needs addressing imminently.

Tottenham’s defence is more solid with Toby Alderweireld, Juan Foyth, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen sharing the centre-back duties. But if Alderweireld leaves, Saliba could be the ideal long-term replacement for Mauricio Pochettino.

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