ARSENAL have won the race to sign St Etienne star William Saliba.
The highly-rated central defender is regarded as one fo best youngsters in Europe and his outstanding performances in Ligue 1 have put a host of clubs on alert.
Spurs were tracking the French Under-19 star’s situation, but their North London rivals have beaten them to the punch agreeing a deal worth around £23million, according to ESPNFC.
Saliba has already agreed a five-year deal and will be the first addition in Unai Emery’s second season in England.
At one point Arsenal were in danger of blowing the deal as the French side were prepared to do business, but wanted Saliba to stay another year on loan to continue his development.
Gunners boss Emery wanted him at the Emirates this season, but St Etienne look to have got their way and will hold on to the defender for another 12 months.
But RMC in France reckon Arsenal could get Saliba this month if they coughed up another £9m.
The Saliba deal marks a shift in emphasis in Arsenal’s recruitment strategy, focusing on younger players.
Latest Arsenal news
Despite the arrivals of Matteo Guendouzhi, Bernd Leno and Lucas Torriera, they added the experienced Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephen Lichtsteiner.
The Gunners want Celtic defender Kieran Tierney.
An initial bid of £15m was rejected by the Scottish giants, however, the Premier League side’s second offer of £17,5m is still way short of Celtic’s £25m valuation.