The 18-year-old centre-back became Unai Emery’s third summer signing on Thursday and opened up on why he turned down Spurs
New Arsenal defender William Saliba has revealed that playing for “the biggest club in England” led to him choosing the Gunners over local rivals Tottenham.
The 18-year-old completed a £27 million ($34m) move to the north London outfit on Thursday, becoming their second signing of the day following the season-long loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos .
The defender was spoilt for choice when it came to deciding where his future lay this summer, with Arsenal’s north London rivals Spurs also interested in securing his services.
And Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, the teenager insisted he only had one club in mind, adding: “Since I was little, I’ve been watching Arsenal play in the Champions League and so on.
“There are a lot of French players who have come through here, so that really helped me to make my mind up.”
Saliba also revealed that current Gunners midfielder Matteo Guendouzi had his say in the move, saying: “I spoke to Matteo [Guendouzi], I even bumped into him at a funfair in Paris.
“That’s where I told him that Arsenal wanted to sign me! He gently advised me to come here and explained what it was like.
“It’s a massive pleasure to sign for a really, really big English club. This has been the biggest club in England for me, so it was an easy decision.
“I didn’t think twice about signing here, so I’m really happy.
“You have to keep working when you hear that a club has been interested in signing you. You have to keep working; that’s what I’m doing and I’m proud to be signing here.”
The France Under-20 international made 16 Ligue 1 appearances for Saint-Etienne last season, and will be returning to the club on a season-long loan as part of the deal before joining up with the Arsenal squad ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Article continues below
When asked why this was the right choice for the youngster, Saliba answered: “Well, it was important first of all because I wanted to prove myself for another year at Saint-Etienne, before I come to try and establish myself here at Arsenal.
“This has been a big club, and when you come here, you need to be ready.
“I’m going to try and have a great season with the club that developed me in order to be ready for Arsenal.”