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Deal close: Arsenal set to beat Tottenham to £26m target to secure second summer signing with key condition

Unai Emery could reportedly be set for positive news on the transfer market as Arsenal are said to be close to sealing a deal for St Etienne defender William Saliba.

The Gunners are in real need of reinforcements in that department given their abysmal defensive record in the Premier League last season.

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Emery’s side conceded 51 goals in just 38 league games, giving them the second worst defence out of the top nine sides in the standings.

In order to break back into the top four and compete for trophies, they have to find a way to shore things up at the back, and they may well be closing in on a long-term solution.

As reported by The Mirror they are said to be on the verge of a deal to sign £26m target Saliba from St Etienne, fending off Tottenham in the race for his signature.

That in turn would make him their second summer signing after Gabriel Martinelli, but there is a crucial catch involved too as it’s added that Saliba would return to the Ligue 1 outfit on loan next season, should a deal go through between the two clubs.

That is surely far from ideal for Arsenal as they need defensive reinforcements immediately, while if the figure touted is accurate, that could be a significant portion of their summer transfer budget spent on a player who won’t even boost the team’s hopes until next season.

It comes after reports that Arsenal may only have around £40m to spend this summer, as per talkSPORT, and so that doesn’t seem particularly sensible with Emery having other areas of his squad that he will surely like to address in the more immediate future.

Time will tell how the situation plays out, but if the Gunners are that convinced by Saliba as a long-term investment, they may well have to concede ground and give St Etienne what they want to fend off Spurs and land an important signing for the future.

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