Premier League • England

William Saliba in line for major summer transfer as Arsenal man ‘admired’ by La Liga boss

William Saliba could swap Arsenal for a major La Liga club in the summer amid claims the defender is ‘admired’ by a manager in Spain.

The 21-year-old is yet to make his Arsenal debut, despite signing for the Gunners in July 2019. They spent £27million to sign him from Saint-Etienne and immediately loaned him back to the French club.

Saliba left the Emirates again in January 2021, joining Nice for the second half of last season. He made a big impression during 22 appearances at the Allianz Riviera stadium.

The centre-back is currently with Marseille. He is an important first-team member, playing in Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, the Europa League and then the Europa Conference League.

Saliba’s solid displays have seen him become a full France international, too. He featured in the March friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa, both of which resulted in wins for Les Blues.

The youngster certainly has the attributes to succeed at Arsenal. But it is up to Mikel Arteta and Edu to decide if he has a future in north London.

William Saliba faces fight to become Arsenal regular

Arteta is enjoying the generally convincing centre-back partnership of Ben White and Gabriel this term. Due to this, Saliba may have to look elsewhere for regular game time.

French newspaper L’Equipe provide an important update on the star’s future. They claim he could end up in Spain over the summer as Atletico Madrid are planning to make an offer.

Diego Simeone seems to be heavily involved in the transfer pursuit. He is a ‘big admirer’ of Saliba and will sanction any move Atletico officials come up with.

William Saliba Marseille March 2022

The report doesn’t reveal how much Arsenal would want for his signature. Presumably, the Gunners would like to recoup all of the £27m they paid three years ago.

Like Arteta, Simeone has decent options in the centre of defence. He can rely on Jose Gimenez, Mario Hermoso, Stefan Savic and Felipe there.

Gimenez is currently out with a muscle injury, although he is hoping to feature before the end of the campaign.

Savic and Felipe are both the wrong end of 30, meaning Simeone could look to Saliba as a successor in defence.

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