Arsenal blow: Tottenham outbid Gunners for William Saliba

William Saliba

Numerous sources across the European media have confirmed that Spurs have overtaken Arsenal in the race for Saint-Etienne’s 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 Saliba during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup group E match between Mali and France. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox – FIFA/FIFA via 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 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.

Tottenham one-up 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 long-said to have been agreed between the parties.

As such, it appeared just a matter of time before Saliba’s move to the Emirates was set to be confirmed.

A breaking news story across Europe this afternoon, though, suggests that the Gunners may have waited too long to finalise a deal with Saint-Etienne.

In a potential hammer blow for Unai Emery and co., it was first reported by Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport that Tottenham had outbid their north London rivals for Saliba.

Spurs are said to have tabled an offer worth 30 million Euro excluding bonuses, which goes above and beyond the starlet’s price-tag:

Bouhafsi added, meanwhile, that Arsenal did in fact have a complete agreement with Saliba, but were yet to agree on the terms of potential bonuses with Saint-Etienne.

A meeting between Let Verts and the Tottenham board to finalise a deal is now set for tomorrow:

‘Very final stages’

The reliable David Ornstein of BBC News has since also confirmed the bad news for Arsenal’s fans, as well as providing an insight into just how close an agreement between the Gunners and Saint-Etienne was to being struck:

Arsenal eyeing loan move for Tottenham-linked Ceballos – Sky

Tottenham are trying to sign free agent Dani Alves, talks held – Castles

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