As per a report from French outlet Le10Sport, Arsenal are closing on a deal for Saint-Etienne starlet William Saliba.
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.’
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 last month 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, are 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
And, as per the aforementioned update courtesy of Le10Sport, Arsenal look to be closing in on their man.
The capital giants’ board are said to be in ‘advanced talks’ with Saint-Etienne over Saliba’s signature.
In fact, it is even stated that, with negotiations ‘progressing well’, a transfer could be ‘finalized in the coming weeks’.
Saint-Etienne, for their part, are demanding a fee of around 30 million Euro for their crown jewel.
One sticking point, though, could be the fact that the Ligue 1 outfit are said to be hopeful of Saliba immediately returning to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on loan for next season, a clause which Arsenal are unlikely to be open to.