Tottenham have joined the race to sign highly rated Ligue 1 defender William Saliba, after Arsenal's £27m bid was reportedly rejected by Saint-Etienne.
The Gunners have long been linked with a move for Saliba, with reports claiming that talks between the clubs had been progressing well, that personal terms had been agreed with the player and that Arsenal had submitted a bid in the region of €30m.
However according to The Mirror, the Ligue 1 side have rejected the bid which has failed to match their valuation, and Spurs could step in to hijack Saliba from right under Unai Emery's nose.
Big statement of intent from Arsenal to meet St Étienne's fee demands with 1st bid. Reasoning behind this is the strong competition from Tottenham - Saliba has already agreed terms with Arsenal & they want to take advantage of being in pole position to close a deal quickly.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) June 25, 2019
The 18-year-old centre-back had a breakthrough season in Ligue 1 last year, drawing comparisons to compatriot Raphael Varane, and would probably act as a long-term replacement for Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
Both of Tottenham's centre-backs will be out of contract at the end of the 2019/20 season, meaning this summer would be the perfect time to start bringing in reinforcements for the back line.
Mauricio Pochettino has money to spend this summer, after the club didn't bring in any players over the last two transfer windows, finishing the season in the top four in the Premier League as well as reaching the Champions League final.
The Argentine has plenty of experience working with young players, having nurtured the likes of Davinson Sanchez, Juan Foyth and Harry Winks.
However Arsenal are still considered to be in the strongest position to sign the French defender, as a conflicting report from the Evening Standard claims that talks between them and Saint-Etienne are ongoing. The Ligue 1 side are said to be demanding a loan-back clause for next season, which Arsenal are not interested in due their budget constraints.