Serie A giants Napoli have reportedly enquired about William Saliba, despite the defender reiterating his desire to remain at Arsenal.
According to Gianluigi Longari, Napoli have enquired about the availability of William Saliba as the Serie A giants look to bring the Frenchman to Italy. The 21-year-old defender recently confirmed his intention to stay put at Arsenal, yet speculation about his future continues to grab headlines.
William Saliba has had a curious three years since joining Arsenal. The north Londoners brought in the French defender in a near €30 million deal from St Etienne in 2019, and the centre-back is yet to make a single appearance for the club.
Mikel Arteta had the chance to integrate Saliba in 2020 but decided against it, citing his lack of preparation and readiness to compete in the Premier League. The 21-year-old has since had successful loan spells away from Arsenal, at OGC Nice and last season at Marseille.
Last season, his performances for Marseille sparked rumours of him staying put at the French club and continuing their journey into the UEFA Champions League. However, Mikel Arteta quickly addressed the situation, with the Arsenal manager confirming that Saliba would return to north London.
Moreover, in his recent interview, Saliba confirmed his intention to return to Arsenal and be part of Arteta’s team. He had said, “I belong to Arsenal; I still have two years left. So I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches, and I still want to show them that I can play for these fans and this great club.”
Yet, sections contextualising his comments suggest he could be sold if Saliba can not agree on a contract extension. Arsenal are planning to offer him a new deal, but much will depend upon circumstances between now and the end of the transfer window.
There have been several clubs interested in Saliba due to his performances for Marseille. Now, Napoli have become the latest side to express an interest in the 21-year-old Frenchman. The Serie A club have approached Arsenal to understand his situation and could then plan their next steps accordingly.
Napoli are keen to figure out if Arsenal have any plans to sell the defender for a reasonable sum. If the Partenopei are successful in their initial approach, a bid to test the Premier League club’s resolve could be the next step, and Saliba could be a successor to Kalidou Koulibaly.
It is understood that Arteta wants to keep Saliba in the team and test the player considerably in the season ahead. However, if the 21-year-old French defender does not commit to fresh terms, Arsenal could be forced to consider reasonable offers for him, as his value will depreciate considerably next summer.