Arsenal are close to completing a deal to sign 18-year-old French centre-back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne. The teenager has made only 23 senior appearances for his club but is highly rated and seen as a future star. He is known as a tall, strong defender with the ability to play the ball out from the back.
The deal will see Frenchman loaned back to the Ligue 1 side for the upcoming season before joining Arsenal at the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
Following some poor defensive displays last season, the Gunners have been in the market for a central defender. Saliba has been heavily linked with the London side throughout the summer and its reported that the deal to sign him will cost £27m.
The Gunners will pay for the 18-year-old in instalments so as not to affect their transfer budget for the coming season. Arsenal are also attempting to sign Celtic’s left-back Kieran Tierney as well as Crystal Palace forward Wilfred Zaha.
Sky Sports reported that Saint-Etienne’s club president said last week that any deal for Saliba must include him being loaned back to the club for next season. “He will stay at the club this season,” he said. “It is an imperative condition should we come to an agreement for his transfer. It’s also William’s wish.”