Arsenal close in on exciting signing as Emery kicks-off summer business

By on June 17, 2019

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal are closing in on the signing of William Saliba after agreeing personal terms over a five-year contract with the Saint-Etienne centre-back.

Unai Emery desperately needs to overhaul his defence as we were once again woeful at the back last season having conceded 51 Premier League goals in our 38 games – which was over double what the likes of City and Liverpool conceded.

Hopefully we can find a buyer for Shkodran Mustafi as he’s been a disastrous signing while Laurent Koscielny’s long-term future is in doubt as he’s got 12 months left on his deal and won’t be signing an extension.

So Arsenal are in the market for a new centre-back and Saliba has been touted as a prime target by the media recently with widespread reports suggesting we’ve been in talks with Saint-Etienne over a potential deal.

It looks like a move is on the cards as L’Equipe claim Arsenal have now agreed personal terms with Saliba over a five-year contract and we’re now thrashing out a fee with his club.

It was previously reported by Le10Sport that Saint-Etienne are demanding around £26m and the latest reports suggest Arsenal are willing to cave to their demands to also send Saliba back on loan for next season.

If true, then my guess is we’ll keep hold of Koscielny for the final year of his contract and let him go for free next summer with Saliba then coming in to replace him after developing further back in France over the coming campaign.

It wouldn’t be ideal as Arsenal need to improve our defence immediately but Saliba looks to be a huge talent and if loaning him back to Saint-Etienne for another year will secure a deal, I suppose it’s a price we have to pay.

The 18-year-old was excellent in Ligue 1 after helping Saint-Etienne finish fourth last season and he’s tipped as a full French international after representing his country at youth level so he has a big future ahead of him.

Fingers crossed we can get this deal over the line and make Saliba the first of several new signings this summer as we desperately need to strengthen throughout the squad.

However, I am still concerned about our defence for next season. Maybe Emery thinks Dino Mavropanos can step-up and Rob Holding will return from injury so perhaps they can help tighten things up back the back.