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Report: Tottenham have hijacked Arsenal’s bid for Saint-Etienne center back

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A transfer saga in acts with a possible gazumping? GIMME!

The Sun UK

This is what we live for in the transfer window.

Since the signing of club-record transfer Tanguy Ndombele, the rumors have calmed down a bit. There’s still plenty of smoke around Giovani Lo Celso, Dani Ceballos and the possible departure of Christian Eriksen. While we wait to see how that all plays out, it looks like Daniel Levy is multi-tasking yet again. This time, it looks as though he’s trying to hijack what looked to be a done deal for Arsenal target William Saliba. RMC Sport Chief Editor Mohamed Bouhafsi is the one bringing the news today:

This seems a little out of right field, but Spurs have been linked to Saliba loosely for a few weeks now. It just seemed like Arsenal were going to get him and we weren’t serious about the deal.

Arsenal had their opening bid for the 18-year-old center back rejected a little over a week ago. The report at the time stated that Arsenal had bid €23m + €7m in add-ons, but Saint-Etienne rejected it and said they wanted a base fee of €27m plus add-ons, though there was no talk of how much was needed to get over the finish line. Also, ASSE requested a year loan in return, which Arsenal seemed to be okay with doing. The problem for the Gunners is that they are short on cash. Almost every English journalist worth his salt has stated that Arsenal’s total budget for the summer, not including player sales (lol), is just £45m. If they met ASSE’s demands, then that leaves them with a paltry £20m-ish remaining for other transfers. Suddenly, that hilarious bid for Wilfried Zaha makes a lot more sense.

Earlier this week, it seemed like Arsenal got over the finish line but something stalled out the talks. Saliba hasn’t reported for a medical to the Emirates and ASSE were dragging their fee.

Enter Daniel Levy.

By now, you all know that there are some serious talks with AS Roma regarding a transfer of Toby Alderweireld to the Serie A club. While the financial status of Roma still make us doubt that Franco Baldini is serious about buying Toby (their highest earner last season was Edin Dzeko at about £90k/week), the talks are reportedly happening today and may or may not include 20-year-old Nicolò Zaniolo. Again, bring your salt truck for that, but it also means that the market may not be dead for Toby just yet.

I bring this up because this means Spurs understand Toby is going to be leaving the club, whether it be this summer or next summer. That means a replacement is needed. With ASSE requesting a one year loan for Saliba after the deal is finalized, this makes a ton of sense. Levy normally doesn’t swoop in like this, but to gazump Arsenal? I see him making an exception.

As for Saliba, he is highly touted in French football. ASSE know they aren’t going to have him for much longer, so cashing in now is a big get for them, especially if they’ll have him for another year and can lock onto a replacement with that cash injection.

To close this out, if you aren’t big on the RMC Sport source, you should be. They were on the Ndombele deal from nearly the beginning, so they have credibility. If that isn’t good enough for you, how about David Ornstein:

GAZUMP!

UPDATE (10:39AM ET): If this happens, it’ll be self-inflicted by Arsenal.