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£27m defender is next signing at the Emirates

18-year-old to be loaned back to French side

11 July, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

ARSENAL are closing in on their second signing of the summer, but any unveiling will be short and sweet.

A deal to bring Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba to north London is well underway, with the Gunners expected to fork out in the region of €30million (£27m) for the much-coveted 18-year-old.

Fans will have to wait before seeing him in action at the Emirates, however, as the five-year contract will see Saliba being loaned back to the French club for one final season.

Saint-Etienne president Roland Romeyer said: “He will stay at the club this season. It is an imperative condition, should we come to an agreement for his transfer. It’s also William’s wish.”

The news comes after Arsenal successfully added one youngster to their squad last week when they signed 18-year-old Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano Futebol Clube for an undisclosed fee.

Meanwhile, the Gunners welcomed back a familiar face this week when former “Invincible” Edu was appointed as the club’s first technical director.

The 41-year-old, who played for Arsenal between 2001 and 2005, winning two league titles, including the “Invincibles” season of 2003-04, will oversee the work of first-team coaches, the academy and player scouting and recruitment.

“Arsenal has always had a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be returning to this great club in this new role,” Edu said upon his return.

“We have a strong squad and some very talented young players with fantastic people at every level. I’m looking forward to helping make a difference.”

Head of football Raul Sanllehi added: “We’re very excited that Edu is joining the team.

“He has great experience and technical football knowledge and, most importantly, is a true Arsenal man.

“He understands the club and what we stand for to our millions of fans around the world.

“His arrival is the final and very important part of the jigsaw in our development of a new football infrastructure to take us forward.

“He will be working closely with Unai Emery and the first-team coaches, and will play a relevant role leading our football vision and ensuring we have – and follow – a solid philosophy through all our football activities.”

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