Arsenal are planning to structure a deal for William Saliba in such a way that the majority of their summer transfer budget remains intact according to reports.

Saint-Etienne’s French defender William Saliba (L) vies with Reims’ French forward Boulaye Dia during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and Saint-Etienne (ASSE) on April 21, 2019, at the Auguste-Delaune stadium in Reims. (Photo by FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP / Getty Images)

The Evening Standard report that Arsenal are ‘edging closer’ to a deal for the French centre-back, with the fee yet to be finalised but in the region of £25m. Confidence is ‘growing’ that an agreement can be reached this summer.

As reported previously, St. Etienne and the player himself both want him to remain with the club next season. They feel it would be the best thing for his development, and clearly want another year out of the 18-year-old on the pitch as well.

The one positive is that Arsenal are only aiming to make a small initial payment for the transfer this summer, followed by the rest of the fee when Saliba actually joins. That would mean more money remaining in the summer transfer budget for the current window.

If Arsenal can pay a small upfront fee and land a very promising centre-back for next season, whilst allowing him to continue to develop in France for now, that would be excellent business.