ARSENAL are reportedly closing in on the signing of William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for £25million – with the deal to not affect their transfer budget.
It is understood that the North London giants are in advanced talks with the Ligue 1 outfit over the 18-year-old – having fended off interest from rivals Tottenham.
According to the Evening Standard, a fee in the region of £25million is yet to be finalised, but there is a growing confidence that an agreement can be reached.
In a boost for Arsenal, they claim that the deal will not affect this summer’s modest £45m war chest.
The main sticking point for Arsenal’s pursuit of Saliba is the structure of payments, with the Greens insisting the defender will stay on loan for the following campaign.
Saint-Etienne’s club president Roland Romeyer recently signalled his intentions for the youngster to remain in France, as he insisted the player also wants to stay.
He said: “He will stay at the club this season.
“It is an imperative condition should we come to an agreement for his transfer. It’s also William’s wish.”
Saliba burst onto the scene last term – where he featured in 19 games in all competitions.
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It has been claimed that the player has already agreed personal terms with Arsenal.
Arsenal are also keen on signing left-back Kieran Tierney, but run the risk of losing out on him to Napoli if they fail to match Celtic’s £25million valuation.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha remains a key target, with the Ivory Coast international recently refusing to rule out a move.