Arsenal have officially confirmed an agreement with Saint-Etienne for William Saliba, who will be loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for the 2019-20 season.
Arsenal have issued an official confirmation announcing the capture of William Saliba. The Gunners have struck a deal with Saint-Etienne for Saliba, with the player set to be loaned back to the Ligue 1 club, where he will spend the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign.
Unai Emery expressed his opinion on the deal. Emery said, “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.”
The Gunners have been credited with interest in Saliba since January and have reportedly fought off a late hijack attempt from Tottenham, which was the reason for the deal taking some time before being completed. Saliba confirmed Tottenham’s interest in his first interview, clarifying why he chose Arsenal over their local rivals.
“Well, the history, the badge… 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.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 25, 2019
William Saliba is regarded as one of the hottest young defensive properties in world football. Saliba featured in 16 Ligue 1 games for Saint-Etienne in the 2018-19 campaign and has recently been called up to the French Under-20 squad.
One of the major points in the deal is Saint-Etienne’s insistence to get Saliba back for one more season. The young defender shined some light on the same, iterating just how crucial another season at Saint-Etienne is for his own development.
“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.”
This is the second deal announced in a matter of hours, with Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos joining Arsenal on loan for the season.
The Saliba deal presents a win-win situation for all parties involved. Saint-Etienne will not have to scour for a replacement, not for another season. Saliba will not have to forego his regular game time and will have another season to get some more experience under his belt before laying a claim for a spot in the Arsenal first-team setup.
Arsenal, on the other hand, seem to have secured the future services of a talented defender that looks like he possesses all the necessary tools to succeed at the highest level of club football in the years to come.