Manchester City are chasing Saint-Etienne’s William Saliba and hope to beat Arsenal in pursuit of the £25 million rated French defender.
Arsenal’s reported pursuit of 18-year-old Saint Etienne central defender William Saliba could be in jeopardy as one of their rivals are ready to steal the march over them in the Frenchman’s quest. The Sun are reporting of a possible Manchester City interest in the defender and claim Arsenal might miss out on the promising Frenchman.
Arsenal have a central defender high on their transfer wishlist and have identified Saint-Etienne’s Saliba as a possible target. They reportedly have other targets in mind as well, with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti one of their primary targets for the summer.
But, Umtiti might come in at a very high price, something the Gunners cannot afford with their limited transfer budget in this window; hence, they are chasing younger, more economical targets. Saliba’s name has featured more than once, with Unai Emery using his experience in Ligue 1 to help identify specific targets.
The Arsenal manager’s track record of nurturing young players, especially after joining the North Londoners has been evident, with prominent roles afforded to Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Joe Willock during the season gone by. Arsenal are now looking at investing in the future.
The Gunners are also reportedly in pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Getafe’s Djene Dakonam, among others. The North London side were particularly hopeful of convincing Saliba and Saint-Etteine to do business with them, but they could face a difficult task to do so, with Premier League rivals Manchester City reportedly entering the race for the defender.
Manchester City are in the market to make some quality additions to their title-winning squad. Pep Guardiola has a central defender in mind and is open to the idea of adding a youngster in the position. The future of Argentine international Nicolas Otamendi is in doubt, and Guardiola would want someone like Saliba to be his replacement.
The departure of Vincent Kompany has also forced Guardiola’s hand in finding a viable central defender and it is likely that the Manchester City boss could make multiple signings for the position. City do have John Stones and Aymeric Laporte as first-choice defenders, but are running short of players who could cover for them through the course of the season.
Even though he has had plenty of central defenders to choose from over the last couple of season, Guardiola has managed to hand each of them sufficient game time. This system under Guardiola could be a burning factor for Saliba to consider when he makes the decision on his future.
On the other hand, if he could trust Emery and his penchant for nurturing young talent, Arsenal could also be a good option for Saliba. The report suggests that Arsenal’s approach might have been accepted if they had agreed to Saint-Etienne’s terms of keeping the defender on loan for at least a year.
This is something Manchester City are open to and could help them usurp Arsenal in pursuit of the defender. Saliba is understood to favour a move to Arsenal amid interest from other sides including Manchester United, but the terms City are offering to his parent club could make them favourites.
Arsenal were long considered favourites to sign William Saliba, but with Manchester City joining his chase things are getting exciting. Saliba has a big decision to make regarding his future, and either side could benefit from his presence as a young, talented defender – one that looks certain of achieving stardom in the future.