Bengaluru, June 18: Arsenal have made progress in their pursuit of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba and have reportedly reached an agreement with the defender, but are yet to agree a fee with the French side.
The Gunners are the only club amongst the top six sides to have conceded more goals. While new signing Sokratis Papastathopolous has been a leader, his partner Shkodran Mustafi has endured another error-strewn campaign, while captain Laurent Koscielny has age against him.
This has forced Unai Emery to look for potential replacements and as per reports, the Premier league side are now on the hunt for young and upcoming talents which have led them to the 18-year-old defender.
The central defender, who has been compared to the likes of Raphael Varane, is regarded as one of the best young prospects in France and has been an prominent in Saint Etienne's back four the last season.
The 18-year-old made his debut earlier this year and the tall ball playing defender has made 13 appearances for the Ligue 1 club this season.
His sudden rise to fame has attracted a lot of followers including Premier League giantsManchester United, but as of now, it is Arsenal who are believed to be leading the chase for the youngster.
The interest is believed to be so serious that an agreement with the player has already been made, but the signing is not confirmed as a deal is yet to be stuck with his club.
Etienne are believed to want around £26million for the talented youngster, and Arsenal are reportedly trying to bring that price down as they have a very limited transfer budget this summer, thought to be less than £50m.
Moreover, the French side reportedly have requested that the defender be loaned back to the club if a deal is done, but the Gunners are keen to keep Saliba and quickly promote him into the first team which apparently is the only stumbling block right now.
The Gunners will have to make do without Champions League next season after failing to finish in the Premier League’s top four. They had the chance to secure a spot in Europe’s elite club competition by winning the Europa League final last month but were thrashed 4-1 by Chelsea.
Emery wants to address a number of positions within his squad - most notably in defence. The Gunners are expected to make some massive changes in the squad which could also see them selling as many as seven stars.