Why William Saliba rejected Manchester United to join Arsenal

Arsenal Training Session
William Saliba rejected Manchester United to join Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

William Saliba is yet to kick a ball for Arsenal but, more than a year after he signed a deal with the club, the Frenchman arrives at the Emirates with high expectations.

The 19-year-old completed a £27m move to the Gunners last July but he agreed to spend a further season with St Etienne before moving to north London.

Though Saliba is still a teenager, supporters are hopeful that the towering centre-back can cure the Gunners’ problems at the back, which were present long before Mikel Arteta took charge.

The teenager arrives at the club with plenty of promise and the Gunners were far from the only club that attempted to sign the defender.

Arsenal Training Session
Saliba arrives with big expectations (Picture: Getty)

Tottenham’s interest in Saliba was well known and the Frenchman had a clear choice between Spurs and Arsenal last summer, only to opt for the red half of north London.

However, the Telegraph claim that Saliba was approached by Manchester United in January 2019 and the Red Devils made a lucrative offer to sign the defender.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had just taken charge at Old Trafford but he had identified his central defence as an area of high priority, which led to the £80m acquisition of Harry Maguire that summer.

Saliba was flattered by United’s interest but according to the Telegraph, the Frenchman was ‘focused’ on Arsenal given the Gunners had long tracked him and had presented the more concrete proposal.

Added to this, Saliba is a boyhood Arsenal fan and he’s long dreamed of following a long line of his compatriots in playing for the club.

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Gabriel is expected to sign a five-year deal with the club (Picture: Getty)

The defender could be joined by Lille star Gabriel in the coming days as the Brazilian was in London on Monday to complete a medical with the Gunners.

Arteta’s side have seen off competition from Manchester United, Napoli and Everton for the 22-year-old.

Gabriel could become Saliba’s new centre-back partner, though Arteta has a host of other options in central defence including Pablo Mari, David Luiz and Rob Holding.

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