Arsenal defender William Saliba could be set for a loan move within the Premier League as Leeds United look to secure a loan deal for the defender.
According to Fabrizio Romano, as mentioned during a conversation with AFTV, William Saliba could be set for a shock departure from Arsenal as Leeds United hope to sign the French defender on a season-long loan deal.
The French defender had initially joined Arsenal last summer for a fee of €30 million. However, as part of the agreement, he was allowed to remain at St. Etienne on loan for the 2019/20 campaign. Despite suffering a few injury problems, he did manage to replicate his performances and emerge as a defensive stalwart for the Ligue 1 outfit again.
Following his return to the Emirates in the summer, Saliba was fit and ready to break into the team and replace ageing stars like Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis. It has been far from the case, however, as Mikel Arteta continues to deploy the likes of David Luiz and Kieren Tierney in centre-back roles in the Arsenal defence.
The marquee signing of Gabriel Magalhaes this summer has not helped Saliba’s case either, as the Brazilian looks set to be the long-term option for Arsenal, even scoring on his debut for the club.
"Fulham and Leeds are both considering taking William Saliba on-loan from Arsenal this season."
– @FabrizioRomano, on William Saliba's situation at Arsenal
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) October 3, 2020
Leeds are reportedly keen on reinforcing their defensive department, the only unit in Marcelo Bielsa’s team that has looked far from sharp. The club gained promotion to the Premier League after finishing top of the Championship, but need to spend a lot more than they already have in order to continue in the top-flight.
Moreover, it seems unlikely that Arsenal would be able to offload any of their current defenders, excluding Sokratis while the likes of Pablo Mari and Mustafi are slowly nearing their return to full fitness. It does not bode well for Saliba and so, the 21-year-old now finds himself in a delicate situation.
Romano also stated that the teenager is happy to go out on loan if it means getting a starting spot at a top-tier club. He was linked with Stade de Rennais but has fallen off their target list after the French outfit signed ex-Arsenal target Daniele Rugani from Juventus on loan.
Saliba’s arrival could be incredibly vital for Leeds, as he could partner up with Liam Cooper and replace the error-prone Robin Koch at the heart of their defence. His experience in the holding midfield role could also enable some rest for Kalvin Phillips – the only indispensable starter in Bielsa’s side. What now remains to be seen is if the Whites can sign the Arsenal defender on loan.