And the Gunners will refuse to match Spurs’ offer for the talented young defender due to the payment structure.
Arsenal’s north London rivals have moved late to crush their neighbours’ hopes of securing a deal for Saliba.
Unai Emery’s side were close to finalising a transfer, which would have seen Saliba remain at Saint-Etienne on loan until next summer.
But Arsenal’s neighbours Spurs have now launched an offer worth in excess of £26.5m plus bonuses.
They will also have to accept Saliba won’t be playing for them this season.
However, it does appear the 18-year-old could well be donning a Tottenham shirt instead of an Arsenal one come the 2020/21 campaign.
Cash-strapped Arsenal have been haggling with Saint-Etienne over the up front fee for Saliba.
Given he would not have been joining up with Emery’s squad for another 12 months, the Gunners were reluctant to pay a big fee now.
“Tottenham’s proposal goes above and beyond the Ligue 1 club’s demands”
Arsenal only have £40m to play with in the transfer market this summer and have other priorities including bringing in a centre-half immediately, a left-back and a winger.
The bulk of their options have proved too expensive so far, especially £80m-rated Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha, so Arsenal are being careful with their spending.
The slow progress over a deal for Saliba, though, has allowed Spurs to step in and table more up front to Saint-Etienne, according to the London Evening Standard.
Tottenham’s proposal goes above and beyond the Ligue 1 club’s demands.
In response, it is said Arsenal are unwilling to pay a hefty fee up front this summer, meaning Spurs are now favourites to tie up a deal.
Daniel Levy has more money to spend ahead of the new season than his counterparts at the Emirates Stadium as the Tottenham owner has not provided Mauricio Pochettino with any new signings for the past two windows.
After watching the Argentinian manager guide Spurs to the Champions League final, though, Levy has given him his full backing this summer.
Midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and winger Jack Clarke have been landed for a combined £65m.
Looking to the future too, signing Saliba makes sense given Toby Alderweireld can leave Tottenham for £25m before the final two weeks of this window.
The Belgian’s centre-half partner Jan Vertonghen also has just a year remaining on his contract.
Pochettino would subsequently need reinforcements in the centre of his defence come the 2020/21 season, and hijacking Arsenal’s move for Saliba only sweetens the deal for Spurs.
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