How Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur to sign William Saliba – despite Spurs offering more money

6 Nov

Arsenal managed to beat north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to the signing of William Saliba, despite Spurs offering more money and the guarantee of first-team football.

The 18-year-old moved to the Emirates this summer in a deal worth £27million, before being sent back to Saint Etienne on a season-long loan.

Arsenal were always confident they could complete the signing of the centre-half, despite interest from their bitter rivals.

Unai Emery managed to snare Saliba from under Spurs boss Pochettino
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According to The Athletic, head of football Raul Sanhelli used his close relationship with the French club’s president, Bernard Caiazzo, to get the deal over the line.

Saliba has struggled with a groin injury in recent weeks, with his return to the side coinciding with an upturn in form for the Ligue 1 side.

On Sunday, the defender was at his imperious best as Les Verts secured a 1-0 win over Monaco.

Arsenal have struggled this season, with their porous defence seemingly endangering their Champions League hopes as they continue to drop vital points in the race for fourth spot.

Saliba is an integral member of the St-Etienne side
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They appear to have a genuine star on their hands, much to the annoyance of current Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel who questioned the decision to cash-in on their prize asset so early in his career.

Speaking to L’Equipe last week, Puel said: “It’s done. Saint-Etienne have held their rank these past few years. Finishing fourth is a great result. Work was done in the short-term.

“Is this model viable? I don’t think it can make the club a success. Rather than buying a ready-made player, I’d rather we buy him to develop him and help him grow.

“It’s hard to accept that we sell our best player, a young kid, to help fill the coffers. When you have to sell your gems to round up the budget and then do short term deals to fill in the gaps, you’re being reactionary.”

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