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Arsenal beat Tottenham to the €30m signing of William Saliba

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

17:29 25 Jul 2019

Arsenal have completed a second signing of the day, with William Saliba's capture from Saint-Etienne confirmed. 

It follows the arrival of midfielder Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

It's reported Arsenal have paid Saint-Etienne €29m plus a potential €1m in bonuses.

Saliba has signed what the club describes as a "long-term contract" with Arsenal, however, the 18-year old centre-half has been loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season.

It's believed Saliba was also wanted by Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham, and so Unai Emery is doubly happy to get his man, "We’re delighted William is joining us.

"Many teams wanted him but he decided he wanted to come to us and be part of our future. He will stay in France next season for more experience and then we look forward to him joining our group."

Saliba says the decision to sign for Arsenal was an easy one as he views them as "the biggest club in England.

"Since I was little, I've been watching Arsenal play in the Champions League and so on, and there are a lot of French players who have come through here. So that really helped me to make my mind up", Saliba told the club's website.

Much like Hector Bellerin talked Ceballos into joining from Real Madrid, it appears another Arsenal player had a role in twisting Saliba's arm, "Yeah, I spoke to Matteo [Guendouzi].

"I even bumped into him at a funfair in Paris, and that's where I told him that Arsenal wanted to sign me! He gently advised me to come here and explained what it was like."

Saliba only signed his first professional contract at Saint-Etienne a year ago, aged 17. His senior debut only came last September in a 3-2 win over Toulouse in Ligue 1.

The 6'3" centre-back made 16 Ligue 1 appearances last season, which was enough to attract the interest of a number of Europe's top clubs.

Saliba has no issue with remaining at Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season, "Well, it was important first of all because I wanted to prove myself for another year at Saint-Etienne, before I come to try and establish myself here at Arsenal.

"This is a big club, and when you come here, you need to be ready. So I'm going to try and have a great season with the club that developed me in order to be ready for Arsenal."

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Read more about

Arsenal Dani Ceballos Ligue 1 Premier League Saint-Etienne Tottenham Transfers Unai Emery William Saliba

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