Former Arsenal star Lauren has urged the club to sign promising 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, who is also a target for Manchester United.

Arsenal’s transfer plans include the signing of a good central defender, after Unai Emery suggested the need for one, while one of their current stars might depart during the summer. In an interview with Daily Star 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, who is also a target for Manchester United, has been recommended to the Gunners by former right-back Lauren.

Arsenal’s current choices in central defence include the ageing Laurent Koscielny, injured Rob Holding, the error stricken Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. While the Greek has made himself a mainstay at the back, there are question marks over Mustafi and Koscielny’s future, with the latter considering his future after more than a decade at the club.

Mustafi could be an inevitable departure during the summer, with Unai Emery reportedly growing tired of his error strewn displays that have come to cost his team plenty of points during this term. Sokratis and Holding, when he does makes his return, could be guaranteed a place in defence. The Arsenal boss, however, wants another addition to his side for next season, with many names linked.

Another French youngster to arrive in the Premier League? (Photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)
Another French youngster to arrive in the Premier League? (Photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)

One of those names is Saint-Etienne’s William Saliba, who is attracting interest after a breakthrough season in Ligue 1. The youngster went on to make 18 appearances for the French side, and his performances have caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs in England.

Manchester United are also looking at Saliba for a potential transfer in the summer, but Arsenal could steal the march over their rivals.

Manchester United, like their Premier League rivals, are interested in bringing a central defender as the future of some of the players, such as Eric Bailly, is in question. Their defensive displays throughout the season came in for criticism, and manager Ole Gunnar Solkshaer would be looking to bring in new players to bolster the backline.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are making inward movements in the transfer window already. They are reportedly in pursuit of several established defenders linked. Manchester United’s Eric Bailly is another player who has been considered by the Arsenal hierarchy.

Solskjaer is eyeing Saliba as well. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Solskjaer is eyeing Saliba as well. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

But, former Arsenal superstar, Lauren, who enjoyed a successful period while playing for the North Londoners, has given his backing over signing Saliba this summer.

“He looks a very good player. Strong, tall, can come out of the back with the ball and an international for France. He reads the game very well, which is essential for a player at the back, you have to anticipate, and he looks very good at just 18, so the future is bright!”

Saliba could represent as a good investment for Arsenal, as Saint-Etienne are asking for around £26 million, which should fall well inside Arsenal’s budget. There might be a chance Arsenal might go for the young Frenchman in addition to a more seasoned centre-half in the summer.

Should the youngster want such a move and follow fellow countryman Matteo Guendouzi, it could prove crucial to his long, promising career. But, with Manchester United also interested, a straight head-to-head battle seems to be in the offing for the teenager.

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