Arsenal could be about to make a big decision regarding William Saliba’s future at the club.
The defender was sent back to Saint-Etienne after being signed before joining Ligue 1 rivals Nice on a temporary deal last season.
Many Arsenal fans were calling for Mikel Arteta to use Saliba next season, especially considering David Luiz‘s departure from north London, but fresh reports suggest the contrary.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners want to send the 20-year-old French centre-back on loan to a fellow Premier League club for the 2021/22 campaign.
Newcastle United have reportedly shown interest in Saliba, as well as Nice – who are supposedly keen on keeping hold of the central defender, but Arsenal feel as if his development would be better aided in England.
Arsenal are keen on signing a new centre-back this summer, as football.london understands the club are preparing a second bid for Ben White in the region of £45m.
Brighton rejected an initial offer of £40m for White, but the Gunners have not been put off their pursuit of the England international.
Some Arsenal fans believe signing White could halt Saliba’s development next season, but Arteta already has a plan by loaning the Frenchman out, according to reports.
The Arsenal boss spoke about Saliba’s future at the Emirates Stadium last month and spoke about a “decision” that needed to be made, with the latest reports suggesting his mind has now been made up.
“You will see in the summer, the possible replacement,” said Arteta.
“William is our player for sure and that’s the decision we’re going to be taking soon.
“When we finish the season we will sit down and discuss the roles of every member in our squad and how they can fulfil that role.
“He is our player so he’ll be back here for sure. After that, we will make a decision based on an agreement of the role each player is going to have in our squad.”
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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Arteta also opened up on how he regrets how he treated Saliba in the early stages of the 2020/21 season. The Frenchman was clearly not part of the Gunners manager’s plans and he sent him to play with the Under-23s after a loan move back to Saint-Etienne fell through.
“We had eight central defenders which is unheard of, but we didn’t find the right moment or the right club or the right agreement to do that,” he said.
“In my opinion we could have used those four or five months in a better way. We tried to maximise that when we tried to keep him here until December. Now he’s had a run of games that he needed after the difficult year that he had the previous season.
“We still have great people doing that. Ben Knapper [Loans Manager] is always in contact with him, he’s the one creating every assessment. As coaching staff we are obviously following his progression, watching his games and in contact with him.”