Arsenal are all set to conclude the signing of William Saliba in a deal that could be worth up to €30million, it has been claimed.
The Saint-Etienne defender has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium and football.london understands that a deal is on the cards.
However, the French outfit have imposed a demand that they want Saliba to be loaned back to their squad for the upcoming season if his move to Arsenal takes place.
It would not be justifiable if Unai Emery’s side coughs up the aforesaid transfer fee amidst their financial woes only to send him back on loan.
Saliba is keen to make an exit and the north London outfit could use this as leverage to make sure that the deal happens and he plays in the Premier League next season.
Will he be a worthy acquisition?
The Frenchman is a strong and athletic centre-back who has pace to offer. He is decisive with his tackles and is commendable in the air.
The 18-year-old reads the attacking endeavours of the opposition in a decent manner and has been hardly seen giving away possession.
He mustered 16 appearances in Ligue 1 in the previous campaign where he managed 2 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 2.7 clearances per game on an average.
Moreover, he is versatile enough to ply his trade as a right-back and would avail the former Paris Siant-Germain manager an added option for the full-back slot.
By no means is he a finished product but he certainly has the ingredients required to excel. Under the tutelage of Emery, however, he could take his game to another level.
Who will he be replacing?
The Gunners have struggled at the back in the last few seasons and Emery must fix his side’s defensive loopholes if they are to compete for major honours.
While Laurent Koscielny is past his prime, Shkodran Mustafi’s erratic performances have been a cause of concern. In such a scenario, signing someone like Saliba would make a lot of sense and will give them some much-needed legs in the central defence with the existing options visibly failing to keep up with the more agile attackers in the league.
Despite being a young gun, he is expected to push Mustafi down the pecking order. Arsenal do have veteran central defender Sokratis and chalking Saliba alongside him would bring a lot of dynamism and resilience to their defensive setup.
His entry at Arsenal would undoubtedly enhance their ranks and if used with Sokratis, the English giants could finally get the balance they have been looking for in their backline.