Arsenal set for William Saliba transfer talks as Marseille chief explains ‘possibilities’

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Marseille will open talks with Arsenal in the not-too-distant future in an attempt to negotiate a permanent return for William Saliba, according to club president Pablo Longoria. Saliba joined the Gunners from Nice back in 2019 but has been continually overlooked by Mikel Arteta in spite of his impressive form over three separate loan spells away from the Emirates Stadium.

The 21-year-old has played a hugely important role for Marseille over the course of this season and was recently named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year as a welcome reward for his efforts in the south of France. Longoria has since revealed that Marseille are intending to begin talks with Arsenal as they look to convince the Gunners to let Saliba return on a permanent basis in advance of the new campaign.

“We had a lot of conversations about analysing William Saliba’s season, especially in the last few days,” Longoria told RMC Sport, as reported by the Evening Standard, when quizzed on the possibility of landing the Arsenal man in the not-too-distant future.

“He is coming off an extraordinary season, with one of the highest number of matches played in Europe. He also joined the France team, which is incredible at his age. We discussed a lot internally about what we can do, to find out what the possibilities are.

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“We respect his club, we have to thank Arsenal. Arsenal are a friendly club that helped us a lot during the last transfer window, we have very good relations.

“We have to talk to each other, see if there is the possibility of reaching an agreement between the clubs, there is the player’s will, the club’s will. But above all, we must respect Arsenal.”

It remains to be seen whether Marseille will eventually be successful in their efforts to tempt Arsenal into selling Saliba, who has never registered a senior appearance for the Gunners since joining the club three years ago. Arteta has already underlined his desire to take a closer look at Saliba in pre-season by insisting that he will finally be given the opportunity to impress before the first Premier League game of the new campaign.

“He has to come back,” said the Arsenal boss earlier this month. “He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us.

“If he had stayed with us this year, with a match of Premier League a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure. For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn’t have been good.

“William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time to gain experience. That’s it, there’s nothing else.”

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