William Saliba

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Arsenal sign French starlet William Saliba

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Despite a slow summer transfer window, Arsenal have landed a center-back for the future. 

The north London side announced the arrival of French starlet William Saliba, 18, from Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne on a “long-term contract”. The highly-rated defender will have to wait for his Emirates Stadium debut, however, as he’ll spend the upcoming season on loan with his former club. 

“We’re delighted William is joining us,” manager Unai Emery told the club’s official website. “Many teams wanted him but he decided he wanted to come to us and be a part of our future. He will stay in France next season for more experience and then we look forward to him joining our group.” 

It’s believed the Gunners shelled out $33.6 million for the France youth international and beat Tottenham Hotspur to the signature. 

Saliba made a name for himself last season in League 1, featuring 16 times – 13 starts – for his boyhood club, specifically in the latter stages of the season. It’s expected that the upcoming campaign will call for Saliba to feature heavily for Les Verts and gain further experience before joining the Gunners during the summer of 2020. 

With a long-term vision in mind, Saliba’s arrival is hope for a more optimal center-back situation at Emirates Stadium, which Emery desperately failed to have last season. The Spanish boss fielded mainly compatriot Laurent Koscienly and Sokratis Papastathopolous as the central duo in the backline, with Shokdran Mustafi finding himself on the bench more often than not, 23-year-old Rob Holding injured and Calum Chambers on a season-long loan at Fulham.

Saliba becomes only the third signing of a sluggish summer for Arsenal, who have added midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and 18-year-old winger Gabriel Martinelli from Brazilia side Ituano. Although, Arsenal can decide to spend more than the reported $60 million transfer kitty they have with about two weeks left in the transfer window. 

It is pretty typical of Arsenal to finally sign a new center back, but then send him straight out on loan…

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Spurs snag Clarke, Arsenal eyeing French youngster

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According to a number of reports across England, Tottenham may have secured its first new player signing in 511 days, rumored to have completed a deal for Leeds United winger Jack Clarke.

The BBC reports that Clarke has flown south to London for a medical and that the $12.7 million deal is finalized. The report states there are further, unspecified add-ons to that base payment should they trigger.

The 18-year-old made 25 appearances for the Leeds first-team last season, scoring two goals assisting two more as they reached the playoff semifinal. Clarke’s arrival will mark the first Tottenham signing since Lucas Moura joined in January of 2018, famously failing to sign a player last summer to much criticism, before making a run to the Champions League final during the season.


Arsenal is reportedly after a pair of transfer targets, one on either end of the pitch.

First, more concretely, reports indicate that the Gunners are set to bat the signature of young French defender William Saliba. The 18-year-old currently plays for St. Etienne and saw significant playing time last season, bagging 16 league appearances good for over 1,200 minutes as he helped the club secure a Champions League place with a fourth-place finish, aided by the third-best defensive record in the league.

According to an ESPNFC report by Julien Laurens, the two clubs have reached an agreement for Saliba in the range of $28 million, with the Gunners beating Tottenham and PSG to the punch. Saliba will stay at St. Etienne on loan next season as he looks to continue developing at his boyhood club.

The Gunners are reportedly also following Monaco winger Keita Balde, with the Senegal international currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at Inter, where he racked up 24 Serie A appearances – mostly off the bench – scoring five goals and assisting three more.

Reports in Italy indicate that while Inter had the option to buy at the end of the loan spell, they declined as they believed the $38 million price to be too expensive. With Monaco struggling mightily this past season and in serious flux, it’s likely that Balde could move on and help the French club gain funds to reinvest.

Balde found the back of the net in Senegal’s opening AFCON match, a 2-0 win over Tanzania, marking his fourth international goal in 24 caps.


Another African on international duty is Kalidou Koulibaly, whose future is still under serious speculation.

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti said Wednesday – completely joking, mind you – that he won’t even return from his vacation in Canada if the club sells Koulibaly. That won’t stop the two Manchester clubs from having a go, and to this point Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has held firm that only a bid that reaches his $154 million release clause will pry him from the Italian side.

Koulibaly wouldn’t be drawn into speculation about his future when approached at the tournament in Africa, saying, “I don’t know [if I’ll still be at Napoli next year], I think so, but I have to play the AFCON and then after that I’ll go back to Napoli.”

Manchester United has been much closely linked with Koulibaly than Manchester City, but it may be difficult to convince him to switch with the Red Devils not participating in the Champions League next season.


Everton is reportedly in the hunt for Juventus striker Moise Kean according to the Liverpool Echo, with the 19-year-old breaking out last season with The Old Lady. He scored six goals in 13 appearances down the stretch of the season, coming into the squad after the club had all but secured the league title.

While he is a big strike prospect for Juventus, the club is somewhat crowded at the position with Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, and Mario Mandzukic at the position. The club surely could take its time bringing him along, but apparently a disciplinary issue while with the Italy U-21 team at the Euros this summer has added to the club’s concern, along with his hesitation at signing a new contract. Kean’s current deal expires next summer, so this would be the time to cash in on his high-rising stock.

The report states it would cost around $34 million to land the youngster and Ajax is also in the mix.