Football

Arsenal reportedly ‘getting closer’ to William Saliba signing


As per a report from French journalist Manu Lonjon, Arsenal are inching towards the signing of Saint-Etienne starlet William Saliba.

Saint-Etienne standout

Saliba, an 18-year-old centre-half, broke into the first-team ranks at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the first time this past season.

The imposing stopper, who stands at 6ft 4in tall, went on to make 19 appearances across all competitions, impressing onlookers across Europe with his combination of stature and poise.

Saliba has also been capped by France at every level up to U19, with his performances at the heart of Saint-Etienne’s backline throughout the campaign having seen the teen establish himself as one of the most highly-regarded young players in Ligue 1.

Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, recently had the following to say about Saliba:

‘I think he has everything needed to become a good player, much like Kurt Zouma, who I signed.’

William SalibaWilliam Saliba

Gaitan Laborde vies with William Saliba during the Ligue 1 match between Saint-Etienne and Montpellier. (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal interest

As such, the potential showcased by the stopper to this point in his fledgling career has unsurprisingly seen Saliba added to the respective wishlists of a number of clubs around Europe.

A report from Charles Watts of Goal.com in May revealed that two of the outfits keen on the Saint-Etienne starlet are Premier League giants Arsenal and Manchester United.

Unai Emery’s Gunners, though, have long been said to be particularly keen.

In fact, Saliba has reportedly been identified as the north Londoners’ ‘top’ transfer target this summer.

As mentioned by @Kike_Marin_, Arsenal see teenage French centre-back William Saliba as a top target this summer – They’ve watched him several times this season, including last night.

Full story. https://t.co/R7IBYBN8AI

— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) May 19, 2019

Tottenham rival Arsenal

Reports emanating from France early last month confirmed that Arsenal were making serious inroads in their pursuit of the stopper, with the personal terms of a contract said to have been agreed between the parties.

And, despite rumours of late that north London rivals Tottenham have joined the race for Saliba’s signature, the Gunners nevertheless remain favourites to eventually secure a deal for the starlet.

The latest update on the situation this evening, meanwhile, certainly appears to suggest as much.

As per a brief report courtesy of Manu Lonjon of Yahoo Sports France, a ‘new exchange’ is said to have taken place between Arsenal and Saint-Etienne.

And this has led to subsequent claims that the capital outfit are ‘getting closer’ to Saliba’s signature:

Nouvel échange ASSE / Arsenal ! On se rapproche . #saliba

— Manu ⭐️⭐️ (@ManuLonjon) July 3, 2019

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