Our defensive prayers may not be immediately answered by this supposed nearly-completed transfer, but our future certainly looks brighter with this supposed acquisition.
William Saliba of St Etienne is being reported on a daily basis, and the latest reports are stating that a deal has been agreed finally between the two clubs, a fee has been agreed too, with personal terms between the player and Arsenal already agreed.
The punchline of this deal though? Saliba spends the next season on loan with his current club.
It is a deal that points toward our club keeping hold of current club captain Laurent Koscielny. With Saliba not immediately adding to our squad, and the fee looking to be around the £20m mark, our budget may not allow another defensive signing – meaning numbers in our backline need to be maintained rather than shrunk with sales.
Koscielny was linked with a transfer to Bordeaux and a return to France this summer, but with Koscielny so close to a decade at the club, one more season at Arsenal doesn’t seem like the worst idea.
With Saliba on the verge of signing but not actually joining the club, the emphasis for next season will be improving on what we have. With one season of playing under Emery and his new tactics already under their belt, our defenders will be expected to implement those new tactics a lot better and more consistently than they managed last season.
We will of course be able to do that a lot better with Laurent Koscielny in our ranks than without, as the Frenchman was one of our few standout performers last season in our backline. How much could we do with Saliba in our squad instantly though?
The 18 year old has only enjoyed one top flight season with Les Verts, and in his entire career. So the loan back to more familiar surroundings may well be the best move.
If this move does transpire though, it means our two signings are very much pointed toward our future rather than the present. Gabriele Martinelli too, is one for the coming years, and while it will make the Gunners stronger in the long run – how about a signing for right now?
Saliba is a coveted player and we’re making the right move, but our transfer window simply cannot end here, with Martinelli and Saliba.
Watch this space…