Saliba, an 18-year-old centre-half, burst onto the scene this past season, after being introduced to the first-team ranks of Saint-Etienne.
The imposing stopper, who has already been likened to fellow countryman and Real Madrid star Raphael Varane, went on to rack up 19 appearances across all competitions for Les Verts, quickly establishing himself as one of the most highly-regarded young talents in France.
And the teen’s standout showings at the heart of Saint-Etienne’s backline certainly didn’t go unnoticed across the rest of Europe.
Despite his tender years, the story surrounding Saliba’s future has proven one of the talking points of the summer transfer window so far.
Gaitan Laborde vies with William Saliba during the Ligue 1 match between Saint-Etienne and Montpellier.. (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Of the clubs to have been touted as potential destinations for Saliba, meanwhile, Premier League giants Arsenal have been by far the most persistently-linked.
And, on the back of mounting rumours over the last couple of weeks that the Gunners’ were on the verge of clinching a deal with Saint-Etienne, confirmation arrived courtesy of a number of reliable sources last Thursday night that an agreement to take the Frenchman to the Emirates had been found:
William Saliba to Arsenal, here we go! It’s the final decision by the player, he’s going to sign for 5 years. Just confirmed by Arsenal, always been confident about this deal ⚪️🔴 #AFC #Arsenal #transfers
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 18, 2019
Saliba meets Gunners’ stars
As such, Saliba’s Arsenal switch looks set to be made official imminently, though he is expected to spend next season back on loan at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Despite his anticipated Saint-Etienne return, however, the gifted stopper is already taking the time to get acquainted with his soon-to-be new teammates.
As showcased below, Saliba was last night photographed alongside Arsenal trio Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Saint-Etienne’s preseason clash with Marseille:
Photo: Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles & Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, alongside heavily linked defender William Saliba, in attendance at Saint-Etienne’s pre-season friendly against Marseille in Washington last night. 👀 #afc pic.twitter.com/XF22ZmAUd7
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) July 22, 2019
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