It seems like a deal for Arsenal to sign William Saliba has been in the works for the majority of the summer ever since Goal reported the club’s interest in the defender in May, but the latest update could finally see the Gunners land their man, and at a great price.
The Evening Standard report that the Gunners are set to agree a £25m deal for the 18-year-old defender, with Arsenal only required to pay a small initial payment to Saint-Etienne this summer for Saliba, who has been confirmed by Les Verts president Roland Romeyer to be staying with the Ligue 1 side next season.
With the report stating that Arsenal just have £40 million to spend this summer, this deal could save the Gunners a good chunk of money this transfer window, with the club also interested Kieran Tierney and Wilfried Zaha as per BBC Sport.
With a small transfer budget to work with, this could be a good deal when thinking about the long-term.
Of course, with Arsenal conceding the second most goals last season out of any side in the Premier League top-six it would seemingly be wise for the club to reinvest this summer in getting a centre-back for next season instead of one 12 months from now, but allowing Saliba to go back to France for the season makes sense when you look at the numbers.
Looking at the French youngster’s numbers at WhoScored compared to Arsenal defenders Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi, Saliba only managed 13 first-team starts last season, 18 fewer than the Gunners’ German centre-back and 12 fewer than the former Borussia Dortmund defender.
Saliba also averaged fewer interceptions per 90 than Mustafi at 1.8 to 1.9 and also averaged fewer clearances than both Arsenal defenders at 2.7 to 4.3 and 5.2.
This lack of experience in the first-team could be a good reason as to why Arsenal are making the call to loan Saliba back to France next season, where he can potentially develop his game before moving to England.
Arsenal fans, is this Saliba deal the best the club can get? Let us know!
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