Arsenal losing key race for €30m-rated French centre-back

Tottenham are set to pounce following St Etienne’s determination to reject Arsenal’s opening offer for William Saliba, who has emerged as a primary target for Unai Emery with the Spanish manager even reluctantly willing to allow he teenager to return on a season-long loan to guarantee his services in time for the 2020/21 season.

Arsenal have tabled a €23 million bid plus €7 million bonuses, but the Ligue 1 side are demanding the full €30 million up front, which represents a huge stumbling block for the north London side given their transfer kitty.

Tottenham, who have not made a single signing since January 2018, are likely to relax the constraints which have been placed on Mauricio Pochettino and would have no reservations about loaning Saliba back if Toby Alderweireld remains.

Spurs extended the Belgian centre-back’s contract in January, but by doing so triggered a clause which means he can leave for £25 million this summer.

North London club are also on the verge of finalising the signing of Jack Clarke from Leeds United after the forward underwent a medical earlier this week, but are still some way from agreeing a fee with Lyon for midfield star Tanguy Ndombele.

‘If I wait another eight days, it will be €80m…Tottenham made us an opening offer worth €45m,’ stated Jean-Michel Aulas. ‘Then, we discussed more. Nothing is done, I can assure you. We are not in a hurry either. Tanguy has shown his qualities with the French national team. ‘He is one of our best players. How much is he worth? I do not know, but not just €45m.’