Arsenal were thought to have agreed a €30m deal with Saint-Etienne for Saliba, with the 18-year-old defender expected to stay with the Ligue 1 club on loan for the 2019/20 season.
However, in a potentially huge blow to Arsenal, both from a football and a pride perspective, RMC’s Mohamed Bouhafsi has shared information on Twitter about a late Spurs offer for Saliba that eclipses the bid submitted by the Gunners.
It is said that while an agreement with Arsenal over the basic fee had been reached, Tottenham’s offer of €30m, excluding add-ons, has exceeded Saint-Etienne’s demands. As such there is set to be a meeting on Saturday that could finalise Saliba’s move to Spurs instead.
Saint Étienne et #Arsenal ont un accord global sur #Saliba mais n’arrivaient pas à trouver d’accord sur les bonus. Arsenal va devoir réagir car #Tottenham et Saint Étienne se rencontrent demain pour essayer de finaliser l’opération car l’offre de Tottenham est plus importante !
— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) July 12, 2019
Bouhafsi further implied that Arsenal’s difficulty in agreeing add-ons with Saint-Etienne was the reason the deal had not been completed. Now, the offer from Spurs is seen as ‘more important’, leaving Arsenal needing to react fast or miss out on Saliba altogether.
BBC’s David Ornstein subsequently tweeted that Tottenham are ‘pushing hard to get the deal completed’, explaining that Arsenal were in the ‘very final stages’.
Negotiations between Arsenal, Saint Etienne and Saliba were in their very final stages – much of it already in the hands of lawyers to agree wording of contracts etc – but Tottenham have reignited their interest and are now pushing hard to get the deal completed #AFC #THFC #ASSE https://t.co/8uihItY3eS
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 12, 2019
Ornstein had reported earlier this week that Arsenal were going to pay for Saliba instalments to avoid eating into their £45m summer budget. Whether the payment structure has anything to do with Tottenham being able to put together a more attractive offer remains to be seen.
Saliba could well become the third major Spurs signing of the summer after the club record arrival of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon and the capture of Leeds talent Jack Clarke.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are still to make any additions to the squad that slumped to fifth in the Premier League last season. Edu has joined the club as a technical director, but the Gunners don’t appear to be close to any acquisitions that would offer the squad an immediate boost.