Arsenal in ‘advanced talks’ to complete deal for £27m central defender

Arsenal are reportedly in advanced negotiations with Saint-Etienne to secure the services of highly-rated French defender William Saliba.

The Gunners have been linked with the 18-year-old centre-back for the past few weeks and Le 10 Sport claims that the club are presently in advanced talks with Saint-Etienne over pursuing his signature.

It is further revealed that Saint-Etienne may demand around £27m for their defender while they could potentially seek to include a clause to retain his services on loan next term.

Saliba made his breakthrough for the Ligue 1 side during the previous campaign and he was impressive with his 19 appearances where he showed great composure and strong ball-playing capabilities.

As such, it appears that he has impressed manager Unai Emery with his attributes despite his tender age, but the Gunners may not favour the prospect of loaning him back to Saint-Etienne.

Arsenal are said to be working on a limited £45m budget for the summer and they can’t really afford to loan out any new arrival unless they can secure him on a complete bargain or a free transfer.

Saliba, who should provide a commanding presence with his height, has recently received praise from ex-Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, who compared his development to Kurt Zouma’s days with Saint-Etienne.

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