Saint-Etienne chairman Bernard Caiazzo has confirmed that William Saliba is on course to join Arsenal and be loaned back to the French club for the 2019/20 season.
The deal was close to completion once before, only for Tottenham Hotspur to come in at the last minute in an attempt to hijack their north London rivals' deal.
OFFICIAL: Saint-Etienne chairman Bernard Caiazzo has confirmed to Le Progres that William Saliba will join Arsenal, but be loaned back to the French club for the coming season. 🤝— Goal (@goal) July 20, 2019
🗣 "Everything is on track with Arsenal, William will make the season with us." pic.twitter.com/HATqYqICpx
However, as reported by Goal, the Saint-Etienne chairman has confirmed that their young centre-back is set to complete a move to the Gunners and will be immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 side next season.
Caiazzo said: "Everything is on track with Arsenal, William will make the season with us."
The highly rated 18-year-old made 16 appearances in the French league in his debut season last year and caught the eye of Unai Emery and his scouting team.
Arsenal were set to announce a deal for the young Frenchman last week, only for Spurs to nip in with a bid at the last minute, which caused a delay to proceedings.
However, their attempts look to have been unsuccessful as Saliba is set to complete a deal to Arsenal rumoured to be in the region of £27m.
The youngster will become the second 18-year-old to sign for the Gunners this summer following the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli earlier this month.
Saliba will be the first signing to be completed under new technical director Edu, who was brought in by the club to oversee all first-team action, including the recruitment of new players. Perhaps surprisingly, the youngster will rejoin Saint-Etienne on loan for the entirety of next season, despite a lack of options at the back currently available to Emery.
Those options only look to be reducing as club captain Laurent Koscielny recently refused to travel with the squad to the United States on a pre-season tour, as talks over a new contract have broken down.
Koscielny has just 12 months left on his current deal and is at risk of leaving the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer next summer.