We still don’t know whether or not Tottenham Hotspur have successfully GAZUMPED Arsenal for the purchase of 18-year old Saint-Etienne center back William Saliba. However, we now know that there has already been some excellent transfer-related banter.
The Telegraph, in the middle of a CLUB-IN-CRISIS report on Gunners’ faltering offseason, threw in a super juicy tidbit about Saliba and Tottenham’s attempt to hijack their deal. Specifically, it’s seems that Daniel Levy waited to make the move until Arsenal were on a plane to the United States.
Friday’s news that Tottenham Hotspur were trying to hijack Arsenal’s move for William Saliba, the Saint-Etienne teenager, would only have worsened the atmosphere. Arsenal have been on the brink of completing a deal for days, following weeks of negotiations, but the ongoing discussions over minor details have presented Tottenham with an opportunity. Just as the Arsenal executive team landed in the US, Daniel Levy was making his move back home. More questions to answer, more problems to solve.
If you didn’t think that Daniel Levy’s back after a year of stadium related distraction before now, this should convince you. Levy waited until the Arsenal executive hierarchy were on a plane to the USA for their preseason tour, and then swooped in with a mostly cash-up-front deal for Saliba that, with escalators, beats Arsenal’s offer.
That’s f—kin’ baller.
Saliba, a France U20 international, and his agent now have a choice to make. Either way, the tea leaves are reading as though Saliba could be loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. If so, that’s ok. Right now, there’s a 50/50 chance that Toby Alderweireld will be staying at Spurs, meaning Tottenham wouldn’t be hurting in central defense. But if Saliba decides to spurn (see what I did there?) the Gunners, they may have just sorted out Toby’s long-term replacement.