As well as William Saliba, Paris Saint-Germain reportedly want to sign another key member of the Arsenal squad that has climbed to the Premier League summit, which could have a damaging impact on their chances of staying there by the end of the season.
Arsenal currently lead the way in the Premier League title race by eight points after 18 games. For a team that failed to finish in the top four last season, it has been a progressive few months. Their challenge now is to maintain their form until the end of the campaign.
With that in mind, the January transfer window could be crucial. Willing to invest in their squad, Arsenal recently missed out on the signing of Mykhaylo Mudryk. More positively, though, they are closing in on the addition of Leandro Trossard instead.
By reinforcing their squad, Arsenal could not only maintain their standards in the months ahead, but discover new ways of challenging their opponents.
However, all that work could be undone if they lose some of their own key players. Indeed, they have been fending off interest in some of the members of the young core of their squad.
For example, William Saliba has impressed since his integration into the first team this season after numerous loan spells back in France. His contract, though, is only due to last until 2024.
Therefore, Saliba has long since caught the attention of Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 champions could lure him back to his home country. After all, centre-back is a priority position for them to strengten.
According to a report from Media Foot, Saliba is still on PSG’s radar. In addition, the club from the French capital have identified Gabriel Martinelli as someone worth pursuing.
Like Saliba, Martinelli has started regularly for Arsenal this season. Yet his contract will expire in 2024 as well, unless the club can renew it.
The report claims it is almost a certainty that PSG will try to sign Martinelli in the summer if his situation has not changed. But aware that it could, they may even bring their plans forward to January.
Likewise, they sense it might be too late in the summer for them to sign Saliba. With that in mind, they are seemingly getting ready to make a double bid to Arsenal.
Arsenal must keep their assets – and keep them valuable
It is not clear how much they might be willing to spend on both players. Since they are both only 21 years old and are already contributing to an in-form team, their market values should be high.
But the longer Arsenal take to tie them down to better contracts, the greater the risk will be of them moving on for a fee below their true worth.
That said, recent reports from trustworthy sources have suggested a confidence that Arsenal will be able to keep both of them. There have been positive talks, but it is not yet clear how long it will take for Arsenal to get them to put pen to paper.
In the meantime, a risk remains that PSG could try to lure them away.
Saliba has already shown he can be successful in Ligue 1, especially when he was on loan with PSG’s rivals Marseille last season. Meanwhile, it would be a completely new venture for Martinelli.
The report seems to indicate that Saliba could be tempted to join PSG, but Martinelli’s feelings are unclear.
Losing them both in January, even if it remains somewhat hypothetical at this stage, could derail Arsenal’s title charge. They have both started all of their Premier League matches so far this season.
Therefore, not having them available any more would obviously affect how Arsenal play.
Hence, they will hope their contract renewal talks can remain on course so they don’t have to worry. Perhaps they may have to accelerate their plans to send a clear message before the end of January.