Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on the future of Arsenal starlet William Saliba…
As per the respected journalist, the Frenchman is set to be a part of Mikel Arteta’s plans at the Emirates Stadium next season and could even be offered a new deal, with the Gunners seemingly unwilling to sanction another loan departure for the 21-year-old.
Writing on Twitter, the transfer guru stated: “William Saliba situation. Rumours on loan move are wide of mark, Arsenal board and Mikel Arteta both count on Saliba as part of the team for next season.
“Been told situation could only change in case of crazy bid. Arsenal trust him – keen on discussing a new contract.”
The five-cap France international joined the north London club on a £27m deal from Saint-Etienne in 2019, although he is yet to make a senior competitive appearance for the Premier League outfit, having spent the last three seasons on loan in Ligue 1.
The situation regarding the 6 foot 4 colossus has been a hot topic among the club’s supporters ever since his arrival three years ago, with many having been perplexed at Arteta’s continued refusal to bring him into the first-team fold.
After the club invested so heavily in the centre-back as a teenager, it remains something of a headscratcher that Saliba is yet to be offered the chance to shine in north London, with the player himself having been critical of his treatment by the Gunners boss.
One notable bone of contention among some supporters was the Spaniard’s decision to exclude the youngster from his Europa League squad for the 2020/21 campaign, with the £27m-rated ace eventually going on to shine for Nice in the second half of that season.
A temporary switch to Marseille in the most recent campaign also saw the £36k-per-week giant impress, as he averaged 2.2 clearances, 1.5 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game, while also keeping 13 clean sheets from his 36 league outings at the Stade Velodrome – all of which came as starts.
However, it is his quality in possession which has also set pulses racing at Arsenal, as he ranks in the top 2% for pass completion among his peers in Europe’s top five leagues, along with the top 2% for dribbles completed and the top 3% for progressive carries.
Seemingly one of the most impressive players in his position in that regard, it would seem that now is an opportune time for the defender to be handed the chance to compete for a starting berth in Arteta’s side. Indeed, Arsenal are in need of increased quality and depth at centre-back, with limited options beyond Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding.
As per Romano’s update, it appears that the highly-rated prospect – who is already a part of the senior setup for his country – is in line for that long-overdue chance, with supporters finally set to get what they have craved for so long.
At present, Saliba is almost something of a mythical figure whose status has ironically been bolstered by not having played a game for the club, although now is the time to see if he actually warrants the hype.