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Arsenal set to close £26.5 million for William Saliba

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Arsenal set to close £26.5 million for William Saliba

Arsenal are set to sign William Saliba from Saint-Etienne after agreeing to a deal in the region of £26.5 million ($33m) for the defender.

The teenage centre-back has been a priority for the Gunners this summer and he will now travel to England to put pen to paper on a long-term contract at the Emirates.

The north Londoners’ latest bid is an improvement on their original offer for the 18-year-old defender, amid suggestions that Tottenham were also ready to enter the race.

After sealing a switch to Arsenal Saliba will, however, return to the Ligue 1 club on loan for the 2019-20 season, rather than linking up with Unai Emery’s side straight away.

Arsenal had been keen on using the centre-back for the coming season, but Saint-Etienne insisted that the deal would not take place unless he spent another year at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

The Gunners ultimately agreed to ensure that they got a deal done for the highly-rated youngster rather than risk losing him to another of Europe’s top sides.

They also believe that another year playing regularly in Ligue 1 will ensure Saliba is ready to hit the ground running when he finally makes the move to England next summer.

Talks over the deal progressed significantly over the weekend – with both clubs now thrashing out the final details of the transfer, which will be Arsenal’s second of the summer window following the arrival of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli.

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