Both Arsenal and Spurs have been linked with 18-year-old defender William Saliba during the past month and a half and it looks like the Gunners have beaten their North London rivals to the signing.

William Saliba currently plays for Ligue 1 side St Etienne and last season the centre-back managed to play in only 16 league games for the French side.

But despite making limited appearances, the youngster has caught the attention of a number of top European clubs with French journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi comparing him to Kylian Mbappe.

“He is the only player in the French set-up who is in the age class two times higher than a player would typically be. He’s the first player to be in this situation since Kylian Mbappé,” said Head of Football at RMC Sport, Mohamed Bouhafsi to GFFN.

“Today, if you look at the transfers of De Ligt and other great defenders, €25m, €30m for Saliba is nothing, nothing at all.

“So, that is why Arsenal have very well understood that they should leave him at St Étienne for another year, or at least close the deal now, because if a player like Saliba is as good again in Ligue 1 this coming season, he will easily be worth €55m, €60m next summer.

“What I want to say though, is that it is not necessarily a bad calculation to sign a player who is going to be fantastic for many years and loan him back for one season.

“And who is going to grow during that time in terms of his qualities, rather than immediately putting him in a fierce competition for places, immediately putting him under pressure.

“Sometimes it is better to lose 1 year to gain 5 or 6 years, rather than to gain 1 year and lose everything.”

Last week it was being reported that the Gunners might fall out of the race to sign William Saliba but now it looks like the young centre-back has chosen to join the Emirates outfit.

Telefoot(as reported by Football London) are claiming that a £26.9 million transfer fee has been agreed between both the clubs and once the finer details of the transfer are completed, William Saliba’s move to Arsenal will be made official.

But what might come as a shocker to a large number of Gunners fans is the fact that the report claims, William Saliba will be sent back on loan to St Etienne for the 2019-20 season.

So, Unai Emery has chosen to use a chunk of his transfer budget on buying a future talent when his current squad has massive defensive issues.

Wonder if this is a wise decision.

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