Bayer Leverkusen target Arsenal defender William Saliba

The defender was sent out on loan to Nice in January
The defender was sent out on loan to Nice in January (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal centre-back William Saliba has emerged as a transfer target for Bayer Leverkusen ahead of the summer window, according to reports in Germany.

Saliba, 20, was signed from Saint-Etienne in 2019 in a deal worth £27million but is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners.

The defender was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019/20 campaign and when he finally arrived at the Emirates at the beginning of the following season, he was deemed not to be up to scratch by Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners, meanwhile, are keen on Leverkusen's Tapsoba
The Gunners, meanwhile, are keen on Leverkusen’s Tapsoba (Picture: Getty Images)

Saliba was subsequently sent out on loan to Nice in the January transfer window and has enjoyed success back in Ligue 1.

And according to Kicker, Bundesliga club Leverkusen are keen on the France Under-20 international.

Leverkusen are looking for two new defensive signings after Sven Bender retirement and Aleksandar Dragovic’s move to join Red Star Belgrade on a free transfer.

However, the report states that the German outfit would need to ‘dig deep into their pockets’ to sign Saliba, with Arsenal wanting the full £27m fee they splashed out on the centre-back.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are said to be interested in Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba, who joined the club from Vitória de Guimarães in January 2020.

The 22-year-old Burkina Faso international has impressed in the Bundesliga, and Leverkusen are said to want a fee in the region of €80m (£69m) for his signature.

Discussing Arsenal’s plan for Saliba earlier this month, Arteta said: ‘When we finish the season, we will sit down. We’re still competing. We will sit down and discuss the roles of every member of the squad and how they can fulfil that role and he’s our player so he’ll be back here for sure.

‘After that, we will make a decision based on the agreement of the role that each player is going to have in the squad.’

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