Monday, May 20, 2024

Report: Arsenal deal for Saliba to include Saint Etienne loan

Arsenal are apparently edging closer to a deal for Saint Etienne centre-back William Saliba but it sounds as though the 18-year-old could spend next season on loan at his current club.

On the lookout for defensive recruits, we’ve been linked with a £25 million move for the France under-20 international after he impressed during his debut year in Ligue 1.

Ideally, if you’re about to drop a significant chunk of a conservative transfer budget on a player, you’d hope he could be called upon immediately, but according to French football expert Julien Laurens, it appears we’re open to him continuing his development in familiar surroundings.

For Saliba’s long-term development, this all sounds very reasonable. Of course, that doesn’t hide the fact we’re in desperate need of defenders for the season starting in August. In the least two years, we’ve conceded 102 goals in the Premier League more than twice as many as successive champions Manchester City.

With Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal entering the final year of their contracts, Rob Holding working his way back from injury, Dinos Mavropanos looking nice on Instagram but not on the pitch, questions marks over the future of Calum Chambers and Krystian Bielik and Shkodran being Mustafi, we need stronger foundations at the back.

We’re rumoured to have interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Dan-Axel Zagadou, Torino’s Armando Izzo and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk but the links seem flimsy at best. At left-back we seem to have made Celtic’s Kieran Tierney a primary target.

Unai and Raul are going to have to get imaginative and quick.

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Replacement for kos at the end of this season?


Could this be a hint that Bielik might get a chance in the coming season?


Or chambers

Maul Person

Or both.

David C

They can’t be worse than what we’ve got!


I was about to write that very thing.

Bielik + Chambers >> Mustafi.


Bielik looks a better player than chambers


Wasn’t Chambers player of the season at Fulham? I think so was Bielik at Charlton. Both really good prospects I think, although Chambers has done it in the Prem, even if his team was garbage.

Xhaka's Left Foot

Chambers played as DM for Fulham and Bielik played CB the whole season and has played well in the U21 apart from the spain game.


We should cash in on Chambers. He has technical a deficiency in his centre-back play that will be exploited by highend strikers: he gets too tight and is turned too easily.

And he’ll never possess the technique to be an Arsenal midfielder.

Bielik has something about him, but he’s a piss in the dark at this point, so who knows…


*a technical deficiency

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Yeah I don’t get the Chambers clamour tbh.
I like him, but jury is still out.

Personally I’d like to see Beilik more in midfield, possibly at the base of a midfield 3.


So, let me get this straight. You “don’t get the clamour” for the guy that just played and impressed for most of a Premier League season- specifically because *the jury is still out*- but you’re clamouring for the guy that’s literally never made an appearance in top level senior football?


“Played and impressed”?

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Well yeah, because I’ve been watching Beilik since our academy where by and large he’s consistently been our best academy player, even more so than names such as Nelson that received much hype. I’m a fan of Beilik as a DM. He is younger and I feel he has a much higher ceiling, Whereas I have seen enough of Chambers to believe as a CB he’s just a bit too limited. I mean, by that argument, one could ask why we’re clamouring for an 18 year old CB when Mustafi has played at a higher level and is a World… Read more »


Chambers needs to be given the chance to earn his spot — he hasn’t been given that for a while at Arsenal. He goes out on loan and does that, twice, but not with us. He can play the ball very well and has the physical abilities to hold the line, and he’s just entering that period in his mid-twenties when defenders really come into their own.


He’s never impressed as a defender for Arsenal.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

The issue that I have with Chambers (and also why I don’t want to see Beilik as a CB) isn’t just his current or potential ability, but his style of play. Basically, his style of play is similar to Holding; they both depend on positional play and read the game well, and are very good on the ball. But they also have similar flaws; basically generally athleticism and speed. However I feel holding has the higher potential, is younger, and seems a bit more physical in that regard. So I prefer a CB that’s a bit physical; more imposing, powerful,… Read more »


These players are still developing, and a pairing can often close out each other’s gaps and shortcomings if they gel. We need to start giving our younger players, our unproven players, a chance to play with us, and a chance to prove themselves with us.

Faisal – I agree. We need one back foot defender – a reader – and one aggressive front foot defender.

Our best combination in recent years was Koscielny and Mertesacker, because they complemented each other. There was balance.

Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gabriel and Mustafi are all stylistically similar players.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Agreed. For years we had this similar pairing CB partnership that never worked;
– Gallas-Vermaelen
– Vermaelen-Koscielny
– Koscielny-Gabriel
– Koscielny-Mustafi

Only Kos-Per ever looked decent because they complemented each other well; strength and flaws; speed and physicality, backfoot and aggressiveness, etc.

If Holding is a starter (which he is), we need a long term partner with him, and I just don’t see Chambers and Holding working, as they’re both too similar.

A Different George

Wait? You’re basing your opinion on having watched football matches?


Good response and points.

Mustafi, it must be said, is NOT the root of all AFC’s defensive problems. He is, however, consistently one of AFC’s defensive problems – if not the biggest. I don’t care if he’s played in big games – or has a WC winner’s medal (he say very little playing time) – because he consistently shows a lack of awareness/poise/experience on the pitch.

Lack of organization, awareness, mobility; the lack of a credible/consistent defensive shield in front of the back line is probably the biggest concern for Arsenal this summer.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Agree to all the above.


He has a technical deficiency in his centre back play? He played very well as a midfielder in the Premier League this last season! He is more than technically capable enough to play centre back. Did you watch him at all last season?


Hi Jack, I think you misunderstood my comment, so let me clarify: Chambers has a technical flaw in his defending. That is that he gets too tight to attackers and gets rolled too easily. I doubt this is something he’ll ever iron out of his game, and it precludes him from being a top centre half.

Obviously, he’ll never play midfield for a team like Arsenal.


Why can’t he iron out a flaw that a random fan has identified and written him off with, especially considering he has world-class players around him and professional coaches and some measure of self-awareness and experience? Fans are hilarious.


Just my opinion of course. We’ll see.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

By that token, maybe rather than buy a CB, we iron out the flaw in Mustafi in him liking to slide in too early constantly?


That isn’t Mustafi’s only problem. And, TBF to him, he does less of that than he used to.

Its Mustafi’s general crapness — thats uncoachable, especially at his age. If you are a regular on this blog (and I know you are), Blogs has laid out many many times all of Mustafi’s issues.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Oh I’m just making a point by using Mustafi. Ofcourse I don’t want him in our squad, he’s simply just not good enough. He’s somehow a lesser version of Gabriel.


Based on sums we’ve received in the past, I’d prefer we forego the £5m and keep Chambers and Bielik to play against lesser teams / cup ties. This allows Koscielny to be rested for PL away games and top teams.


Fair point! We need to appoint a Head of Sales, not a Head of Recruitment

Thomas b

I hope so, would really like Bielik to be given a chance to impress. With him and Chambers back you have two players who can do a great job both as a defensive midfielder or sentral defender. It would give or team great depth and cover.


Perhaps the payments are going to be structured so that the cost will come out of next season’s budget?


That’s an interesting view. Apparently this young man is rather highly regarded in France and thought to be destined for great things. It appears that we are desperate to bag this deal before he plays another season and we get priced out of any potential deal.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Maybe we also pay them next season


Wish I could do that with my season ticket!


Could well be that this comes primarily out of next season’s budget, but it does seem very odd business for a top tier team in our situation.

Spanish Gooner

Makes sense to me – if we get Tierney we’ll be able to play 4 at the back, so we’ll only need two of Sokratis/Kos/Chambers/Holding/Bielik, then we get a long term player guaranteed at the end of the season to replace Koscielny when his contract runs out

Pablo pomreas

Exactly the way I see it Spanish


you forgot Mustafi!!!!! pun intended

Spanish Gooner

My therapist encourages me to do it as much as possible



Prakhar Tripathi

I would rather have the agile, quick, dribbling, strong Tanguy Ndombele rather than let another great player go to Spurs. Good in the tackle and countering press with his dribbling. Opposite of the pedestrian midfield we have.


N’dombele is high quality midfielder for sure, but we can’t afford him or even sell him a compelling ‘project’ narrative.

Punishment for years of mismanagement, top-down.

Spanish Gooner

They’re the champions league finalists and are in the CL again next season. As much as it hurts, unless we double their wages we are the lesser draw for most players right now


What have they won? Since when? We’ve been in a final ourself. They finished a point above us…We have had and always will have French quality throughout the team and club…We are never behind Tottenham even if they snuck their lucky asses to a CL final only to bottle it like they have everything else. We have the money, this 40 mil is an unofficial number floated around christmas that just stuck for no reason and has now become fact to most. IMO we could take him from under their noses easily.

Floppy Gloves

Not if he wants to play CL next season. I doubt many, if any, professional footballers dream of playing in the Europa League.


…actually most professionals never played at so high level. Floppying away


Christ, we’re doomed at the back if this is the way we’re planning to spend our tiny transfer budget. I’m sure he’s a great prospect but it hardly seems like great prospects are what we should be focusing on just at the minute.

Maul Person

If this is the deal, I highly doubt we’d pay for him when he’s going to stay there for a year. I’d expect the payment, or the bulk of it, to be made at the end of next season.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

I swear ther “great prospects are what we should be focusing at the minute” is exactly what got us into this mess that we’re in. Short-terminism is exactly our problem.

In that time, we missed out on the likes of VVD at Celtic for such reasons.

Time for fans to start taking a longer-term approach to enjoying arsenal again.

Frank Bascombe

Thank you.


I dont have issues going for young talents. My issue is his position because we already have young talents there.

Thomas b

It’s exactly the kind of deal we need to do. We won’t challenge for the title next season, or two seasons from now. If we are lucky, maby we can qualify for the champions league. We need to rebuild, and we can’t do that buying established stars. As we all know, we don’t have the founds. We need to get the stars of tomorrow, and to do that we need to get them rather young and develop them. I would prefer Saliba to stay in France a play regularly for one more season, instead of spending time playing for our… Read more »

Christopher Wreh

Interesting if so, we clearly believe in the player enough to give in and loan him back even though we’re in dire need of a centre half. I am categorically not saying I would be happy with the scenario I am about to suggest could happen, but I do believe the scenario I am about to suggest could happen: We don’t sign a centre back this window. The club will bring Chambers back in for a year, bring Bielik in, Holding (who by the way I think we missed terribly after he got injured) will be coming back and Mavropanos… Read more »


I’d be happy to see the club put their faith in the young, physical centrebacks we have. It’s the way they learn, it’s the way they develop, it’s the way they become better. I don’t know if Bielik is better off as centreback or defensive midfielder, but I’d like to see him get the chance to feature this season and for Emery to harness their youthful energy and ability to be coached. But yeah, I don’t see this happening …


What happens if he does an ACL this season and we don’t get him fit next season? Is there a clause for situations like that?


Easy, we rely on the well-used and reliable strategy: Blame Bloody Venga!!!


I dont know alot about economy, but shouldnt buying a talent be seen as a long term investment, and maybe not taken from this years transfer budget? I mean if he is as good as the club values him at, wouldnt he be worth more in a couple of years, and therefore make back whatever money we spend on him? We must have some extra cash lying around, for these types of signings. Or maybe a loan from a bank or something. Also a club of our magnitude, regardless of champions league football, should have a much bigger budget than… Read more »


Neither of those clubs is wholly owned by Silent Stan Kroenke on a “selfsustaining business model” i.e. money only goes out to Kroenkes already well stocked bank account/s.


Replace self sustaining with self destructive please.

Samson’s Birthday winner

Just as many have pointed out, the fee will probably be spread over a couple years especially as he would be staying out for a year. Not all transfers fees are paid in one lump sum or no Italian club would buy anyone.


I like the new transfer strategy at Arsenal, if we wait for another year to bid for him and he has a good season he will cost an astronomical sum. This way we get hold of a player who is rated very highly by the club and he also gets an opportunity to gain valuable experience away from the British media. I don’t Ivan Gazidis would have ever sanctioned this move.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

I know Ivan is a hate figure around here (rightly so in most cases), but let it be known he was the one that forced changes to the academy, not Wenger. He was the one that increased the academy budget, he was the one that made Per academy manager, and he was the one that intentionally got the likes of Sven; to specifically find players like this, as he did with Torreira, Mavropanos and Guendouzi.

It’s ok to hate the man, but let’s not start distorting the truth and the past to do so.

Ko Aunglinn

He is good for future. Pleasa try to change this season with MUSTAFI ???


Reports had been saying we are paying 30m for him but we loan him back to Saint Etienne. I see many comments said we are not so stupid to use this season budget to buy him. However, i try not to disagree but with the transfer management team, i doubt so. We bouht this player, no matter what we still need to pay a substaintial sum of money to buy him first, we can’t just tell Saint Etienne that i will be buying him without paying any money. It is so underwhelming. Actually we might just send Mavropanos to them… Read more »

Maul Person

Perhaps part of the thinking is that, for two CB slots, we will have Kos, Mustafi. Mavropanos, Holding, Chambers, Bielik and Papastotopoulous so while getting Saliba is important to the club, with most of the above staying for the coming season (not something I personally think should be the case), he isn’t likely to play much. So it’s best he stays and continues to learn his trade…


*If* Saliba is loaned, it’s best to think of this deal as being separate from our summer 2019 “budget”, whether 40m or otherwise. It’s a long-term investment that shouldn’t be thought of as a short-term operating expense. We can buy Saliba *and* another CB for the first team. After all we have one CB with at most one season left (Kos), another the wrong side of 30 (Papa), one we’re desperate to offload (you-know-who) and three that we’re not sure yet are good enough for Arsenal (Chambers, Bielik, Mavropanos). Holding is the *only* CB that we can reasonably expect to… Read more »

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

I still think blogs are somewhat too harsh on Mavropanos. I get it’s a reaction to some fans building him up as the saviour of all our ails, but we also have to put his last season performances into context. He had spent all summer and half the season injured. We saw even in Kos’s return in his first few games just how rusty he was, to the point some here even said he was finished as a top level player. Few games later, he was back in form. Yet this hasn’t been taken into consideration with Dinos. I think… Read more »


There is a great, dominant defender in Mavropanos, the only thing that worried me at the end of the season were some seriously rash decisions and really getting caught out for them. But that is coachable. I think we’d be pleasantly surprised by our young crop of defenders if we gave them a chance this year, but I just don’t see it happening. Mavropanos will be out on loan soon …

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

I agree, but that could also be just rustiness after being out for so long and trying too hard to impress.
We say Kos do similar things when he came back into the team initially and was performing poorly. Difference was Kos was given the gametime to improve, something Mavropanos wasn’t.


I agree — let’s give these youngsters a chance to develop, and that comes only with responsibility, confidence, and game time.

A Different George

The wild swing in opinion is pretty common, especially with players who display aggression and physical play. Kolisinac, Xhaka, and–yes–Mustafi were all hailed as brilliant additions in their first few matches, finally giving Arsenal the steel we were missing so long.

Faisal Narrage aka Mr. Project Youth 2.0

Very true, with Xhaka and Kola in particular.


You’d think a sizeable amount of the money would be spent when he actually comes next season though wouldn’t you?

Jon Good

I don’t think the club see the center of defense as quite as high of a priority as many fans do. I think the only way we are getting an experienced center back in before the start of the season is if another club wants to by one of our experienced guys first.

Brace yourselves for a season of Sokratis/Kos (when fit)/Mustafi paired with Holding/Chambers/Mavropanos.


We can’t afford the kind of experienced centreback that the fans want — we simply don’t have the money in our self-sustaining model as we’re sloping down. We’ll be better defensively this year, as surely we can’t get any worse!


It’s amazing how, after just spending a billion quid on a new stadium, Spuds can afford to drop 60 million on a player. And yet we’re still shopping in Primark.

We’re a complete joke. Wake me up when Stan and his useless son are gone.

Maul Person

The Sp*ds have CL football and their NFL deal. And a slightly more stable economy unlike the global crash that occurred at the time Arsenal was sorting out its stadium. It’s not as much of a clear cut comparison as you’re making out.

Maul Person

…and, if I’m not mistaken, a lower wage bill and fewer players?


The CL money they are earning each year and the goodwill deal they’ve got with Kane (someone who should be making twice what he does) is going a long way to funding the project over there — they’ve been watching Arsenal for two decades from behind and, unfortunately, learning. But don’t worry — we won’t need to wait for the owner to change before we move ahead of them and resume control of North London. They’ve been underdogs and overachievers for years, but they now sit at the big table, and though they’ve got their manners down I don’t think… Read more »


Perfectly said. I’m counting on the fact that they are all time bottlers. Their squad is held together with duct tape at this point. If they have an off season all of their good players will be pried away and unless they do magic in the transfer market they won’t be at this level for long.


Blah blah bullshit! They are a properly managed football club with owners who actually understand and care about the game. We are a fucking shambles from top to bottom. It looks like we’ll be seeing Özil and Mustafi and all the other dross at the Grove next season again. All managed by a coach who can’t defend. We’ll finish sixth.


They haven’t won a single thing in over a decade, and are the latest team of “almosts” over which the BBC and McNulty have busted their proverbial nut. They’ve produced some winning displays when the time was right, and then soiled their pants when it became too intense. I thought top four wasn’t good enough, and yet now it is the hallmark of a properly managed football club? I agree with you that we are really bad right now, and I’m not sure Emery is going to get us out of it, but let’s not start casting sunshine on the… Read more »

A Different George

Come on, they have spent nothing for years. And they have a very low pay scale, which will cause the imminent loss of their best player (Alderweireld) and their most creative player (Eriksen). They have already lost Dembele and might lose Kane in another year. I think the stadium build will likely do to them something very similar to what it did to us.

A Different George

And Alderweireld and, I think, Eriksen both on a free.


Exactly this. They can’t continue to underpay their stars. It’s working now while they’re successful*, but several of their players will be looking to get paid very soon. Dele Alli, Son, Kane will all want a pay raise at some point.

*success being zero trophies


Spurs have been suffering as well. Poch threatened Daniel Levy that he would quit if he sold the stadium naming right. “Nike stadium” rumour was true.
So i believe they didn’t have much money. Their situation is pretty much the same as ours in 2006. We did a good job too, being Champions League semi finalist in 2009 and were close to League title. Things only got worse when Kroenke became the largest shareholder.


Ndombele to Sp*rs is a gut punch. The guy is an absolute monster. He’s got all the tools we need in a midfielder and at 60 million euros would be a relative bargain. It’s a real shame, they’re getting stronger, we *might* nominally get stronger if at all.


How utterly pointless for a club as skint as us. We are fucking useless


Considering limited budget we have, a waste of money.

We already have Bielik and Mavropanos.

This fellow barely featured last season and is young.

We need to be working on an experience Cback first and foremost.

We will be compounding our issues loading up the players we really need in market with this buy.

We don’t have the elasticity in the budget to be buying at this sort of price for the future.


I’m really sorry but this seems incredibly wasteful. Why get a player in who you won’t be playing in your team this year and then also paying a premium 25 million. YES, 25 mil for an 18 year old regardless of how good he is (and he’s not really that good if he’s playing for St.-Etienne) let’s be honest here. The problem doesn’t end here because we have a tight budget and I’d rather see all of it being spent on players that will have some kind of impact in our squad this season. What a regressive, flawed and BS… Read more »


27 mil for a 18 year-old player seems too much for me.
And still, he can’t play for Arsenal in the next season if the rumour is true.


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