Kylian Mbappe affects Arsenal plan for top defender with summer bid being pondered

Kylian Mbappe playing for France

William Saliba has emerged as a target for Real Madrid, who could try to sign him before he ever ends up playing for Arsenal – according to reports in Spain.

Saliba signed for Arsenal back in 2019, joining from Saint-Etienne. He has struggled to cement his place in the Gunners’ plans since, though. Loan spells with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille have followed.

In his current spell with the latter, the defender has been impressing. His form has raised further questions of how Arsenal have managed him.

They now reportedly plan to finally integrate him for next season. However, Real Madrid may try to put a stop to those plans.

According to Diario Sport, the Spanish side have added him to their transfer wishlist. They are continuing to evolve their backline after the exits of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in the summer.

David Alaba arrived to replace them, but there should be room for one more centre-back in 2022.

And they have cast their glances towards Saliba in a move that may appease their top attacking target, Kylian Mbappe.

Arsenal joined by Dortmund in race for Calvert-Lewin

Borussia Dortmund have joined the race for Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Arsenal

The PSG forward has been well aware of what Saliba has been doing this season. Indeed, the Arsenal loanee named his performance against Mbappe’s side as the best of his career so far.

Links between the two go back much further, though. They grew up in the same part of France and Saliba’s first coach was actually Mbappe’s father. Now, they could join forces at their next club.

Mbappe is out of contract with PSG in the summer, when it is widely expected he will join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

He will be hoping that Saliba can follow him, although Real would have to pay a transfer fee. Arsenal still have Saliba under contract until 2024.

Marseille may try to keep Saliba

William-Saliba-Marseilles-passes ball against St Etienne July 2021

There is no option to buy in Marseille’s deal for Saliba, which lasts until the end of the season.

But given how he has done for them, they are expected to be interested in a permanent deal too.

Of course, a club of Real Madrid’s stature may be too tough to compete with. But having already got the best out of Saliba, Marseille may try convince him to stay longer term.

Reports in the Autumn suggested they would want to hold talks with Arsenal over keeping him.

Any price tag is unclear and would be up to Arsenal to set. And with interest in his services rising, his value could be on the up too.

But it would still be a regret for Arsenal to never use him, so they may be forming up their own plans to reintegrate him in the summer.

READ MOREEuro giant ‘reaches agreement’ to sign Arsenal star, with deal resting on crucial factor