Arsenal have matched Tottenham Hotspur’s €30 million offer for Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, whose future continues to hang in the balance.

According to RMC Sport, Arsenal may have provoked a mini North London derby in the ongoing summer transfer window after deciding to match Tottenham Hotspur’s €30 million offer for William Saliba. The Saint-Etienne defender has been a subject of major transfer speculation this summer and the two Premier League giants could potentially indulge in a transfer duel as the French outfit consider their options.

It is believed the Saint-Etienne are waiting to see if any of these two clubs are willing to raise stakes, although it is unlikely, especially from Arsenal’s part considering their slender transfer budget this summer. The Gunners have appeared quite prudent in the market so far, having made just one signing in the shape of Gabriel Martinelli.

Even splashing €30 million on Saliba could be a major risk being taken by Unai Emery as the Frenchman’s transfer fee will consume a large chunk of Arsenal’s transfer kitty. That being said, the youngster is regarded as the next best defensive prodigy in France, having enjoyed a sensational professional debut campaign last season.

The 18-year-old initially endured a slow start to the season but gradually became a prominent part of the Saint-Etienne backline ever since his impressive debut against Toulouse. He ended the campaign, making 16 league appearances. His solid defensive partnership with the likes of Loic Perrin and Timothee Kolodziejczak helped Les Verts achieve an impressive fourth-placed finish in the league.

William Saliba is also on Arsenal's wishlist this summer. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)
William Saliba (L) is also on Arsenal’s wishlist this summer. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Saliba’s addition to Arsenal will revamp Emery’s defensive options next season, especially following the antics of Laurent Koscielny. The Saint-Etienne star, despite his lack of experience, could be an ideal defensive partner to Sokratis Papastathopoulos at the heart of the backline. He could also provide the youthful exuberance to the side that could help Arsenal become much more vigilant in defence.

Tottenham, on the other hand, are bracing themselves for the potential departure of Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian international has a release clause of £25 million, which can be activated this summer. He was notably linked with a move to AS Roma earlier this week and his departure will create a huge void in the Spurs backline.

Saliba, to that end, could compete with another defensive gem in Juan Foyth for a place in the first-team next season. The Argentine has also impressed the onlookers with his performances last season and the combination of Saliba and Foyth would make an extraordinary defensive pair for years to come at Tottenham.

But as for now, Saliba’s future still hangs in the balance, although Saint-Etienne will undoubtedly try their best to keep hold of the Frenchman for yet another season before shipping him out to big clubs. It will be interesting to see how this transfer saga pans out as we near the final phase of the English summer transfer window.

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