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Transfer news: Tottenham move quickly to hijack Arsenal’s deal for £25m William Saliba

Tottenham have moved quickly to gazump Arsenal over Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba.

The Gunners were confident of securing a £25million deal for the 18-year-old defender that would see him loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for a season.

But reports in France say that Tottenham lodged a superior bid and intend to complete the deal.

Significant setback

William Saliba pic
Saliba clears the ball at a corner, watched on by former Arsenal man Mathieu Debuchy (Photo: Getty Images)

If that happens it will be another significant setback for Arsenal manager Unai Emery after captain Laurent Koscielny refused to take part in their four-match tour of the US.

Emery’s summer transfer budget has been restricted to £45m and the Gunners’ had negotiated a deal for Saliba that did not involve a significant up-front fee.

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Tottenham, with Champions League final prize money to spend and having kept their powder dry for the two previous transfer windows, have no such reservations and moved swiftly.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino needs defensive reinforcements at a time when centre-back Toby Alderwiereld’s future remains unclear.

Koscielny chaos

Roma are keen but the Italians’ attempts to change a deal that says payment must be made over two years and in no more than three chunks have cut no ice with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

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Arsenal are continuing to block Koscielny’s attempts to be allowed to leave on a free. The 33-year-old wants his contract to be torn up so he can return to France, with Bordeaux one of three clubs willing to sign him.

Arsenal are demanding an £8.8m fee for the defender.

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