William Saliba is set for another loan to move away from Arsenal as he is close to joining Marseille in the next few days.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal and Marseille are finalising the final details for a loan move for young defender William Saliba. The former Saint Etienne youngster has not played a single game for Arsenal despite being signed for a huge transfer fee two years ago from the French club.
Arsenal battled Tottenham two years ago for William Saliba and eventually sealed the deal involving transfer fees above £27 million. Part of that agreement let Saint Etienne keep the promising defender at the club for another year. However, the coronavirus pandemic halted his development with Ligue 1 suspended.
Saliba was pencilled for a starring role at Arsenal last season. Still, with Arteta deeming his levels insufficient, he was on the verge of securing another loan switch the previous summer. However, a move failed to materialise, and Saliba had to play Under-23 games until January before a temporary move to Nice.
The fact that Saliba was nominated for the Ligue 1 team of the season did not move Arteta into considering him in the first team for next season. Instead, Arsenal have been busy negotiating with Brighton for Ben White, who plays in the same position as Saliba. Rob Holding, the other right-sided defender, is also likely to stay at the club.
Such a situation leaves Saliba at crossroads with the club. His agent met with the Arsenal bosses last week to discuss the defender’s future, and they have mutually agreed on another loan move. From the choices in front of the Gunners’ star, Marseille have emerged as his preferred destination.
Arsenal have thus far obliged on that choice and began negotiations with the Ligue 1 outfit, and the young defender looks close to a loan move to the French club. Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has also reportedly completed his move to Marseille on loan with a buy option. Saliba will join him imminentely.
As previously reported, the deal does not contain a buy obligation or option for Marseille, although the French club was insisting on one. The duration will be only for a single season, considering Arsenal would want Saliba to have a full season under his belt. After this loan deal expires, Saliba will have spent three years of his five-year contract on loan, while Arsenal will surely evaluate his situation at the end of the season.
Will Arsenal fans ever see Saliba playing for the club? Or will Saliba be sold at the end of next season with two years remaining on his contract? Either way, the loan move will provide a better view of Saliba’s ability throughout a whole season, and at Marseille, he is expected to play regularly, barring any serious injury.