Arsenal are willing to let William Saliba seal a deadline day loan move and the teenager could stay in the Premier League. Unai Emery completed a £27million deal for the Frenchman in the summer of 2019 but he is yet to feature for the first team and now Mikel Arteta is keen to get him some regular playing time.
Saliba returned to Saint-Etienne on loan last season and impressed once again under former Leicester boss Claude Puel.
The initial plan was for him to be part of Arteta’s squad this season but the Spaniard has been impressed with his current centre-back options plus new signing Gabriel Magalhaes.
That’s seen Saliba’s short-term future reassessed and now Arsenal are keen to send him on loan to continue his development.
Rennes were in talks with the Gunners but instead opted to sign Juventus’ Daniele Rugani on a temporary deal.
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According to The Telegraph, Saliba looks likely to join Premier League strugglers Fulham.
Arsenal beat the Cottagers 3-0 on the opening day of the season and the performance highlighted Scott Parker’s need for defensive reinforcements.
They shipped three goals once again this time last week in the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa after conceding a further four goals at Leeds.
Saliba could now come in to tighten things up but he is not the only defender Fulham are looking at.
Ideally, they would like to bring in two centre-backs on deadline day having left their business late.
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The club had been in talks with Sampdoria over a deal for Omar Colley but his agent Cheikh Fall has now confirmed it’s unlikely with less than 24 hours to go in the transfer window.
He said: “There is no news on the Omar Colley negotiation. At the moment I see his transfer to the Premier League as very difficult, almost impossible. The hottest teams remain Sheffield United and Fulham, but Sampdoria wants the sale while the English clubs are focused more on other targets.
“There is also a problem related to the passport and the time to close the transfer is practically over.”
Fulham are also exploring loan deals for PSV’s Timo Baumgartl and Lyon’s Joachim Andersen.
It would be a huge coup for Parker and Fulham owner Tony Khan if they could secure the services of Saliba and surely Arsenal would entertain the idea of him staying in the Premier League.
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Saliba was left out of the Arsenal squad for Thursday’s Carabao Cup triumph at Liverpool and after the match, Arteta hinted that the 19-year-old is not quite ready to play for the Gunners.
He told Sky Sports: “He had a very last year where Arsenal loaned him to Saint-Etienne and that was a transition year for him.
“For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries, he had some personal issues and obviously with COVID and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year, so he needs that year of transition.
“Also, we are trying to make the right decisions for him to make the best possible year of transition for him to have the player we want for our future.”
Left-back Sead Kolasinac could also leave the club with Bayer Leverkusen in talks over a potential deal which would see him return to the Bundesliga.
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