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William Saliba set for imminent loan exit/What it means for Arsenal future

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: William Saliba of Arsenal U21 walks off from pitch after receiving red card during the EFL Trophy match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 8, 2020 in Wimbledon, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Arsenal defender William Saliba is primed to depart the club on loan once again this summer, it has been confirmed.

Allianz Riviera stint

French starlet Saliba of course spent the last few months plying his trade in Ligue 1, with OGC Nice.

This came with the 20-year-old having endured an altogether disappointing opening half to the campaign in North London, during which he was restricted to outings with Arsenal’s youth sides.

Saliba, though, subsequently went on to enjoy a solid stint back in his home country.

The former Saint-Etienne man quickly established himself as a mainstay in Nice’s backline upon his arrival, forming an encouraging partnership with fellow loanee Jean-Clair Todibo.

William Saliba set for imminent loan exit/What it means for Arsenal future

Nice’s French defender William Saliba (L) is challenged by Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose during the French L1 football match between Football Club de Metz and OGC Nice at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France on January 9, 2021. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

All told, Saliba notched 22 appearances across all competitions, including 20 Ligue 1 starts.

The Arsenal loanee was even named Player of the Month by Les Aiglons’ fans back in February, on the back of his first five appearances in the club’s colours.

Marseille bound

Saliba’s fine form back in France, though, did little to quell the constant chatter surrounding Arsenal’s treatment of the young stopper.

Many remain of the opinion that he should have been handed the opportunity to impress as part of Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad over the opening half of the campaign, with the club having been overly harsh in their treatment of a potential star in the making.

If the latest word stemming from the media on Friday is anything to go by, though, then those of a Gunners persuasion who remain hopeful of seeing Saliba back in their side’s colours next season are in for a rude awakening.

As per a report from the highly reliable David Ornstein of The Athletic, the 20-year-old is in fact all set for another loan departure from North London.

His likely landing spot? Marseille.

A whole host of clubs, from England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany, are understood to have expressed an interest in Saliba’s signature this summer. The defender himself, though, has come to the decision that a move to the Stade Velodrome would best aid his development.

In turn, negotiations between Marseille and Arsenal will soon get underway, with an agreement ultimately expected to be found.

Significantly, Ornstein also goes on to assure that, despite having not yet made a senior appearance for the Gunners, Saliba remains a key ‘part of the club’s long-term thinking’.


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This article was edited by Tom Canton.

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