Arsenal are facing a transfer dilemma in the upcoming transfer window with Italian giants AC Milan mulling over a William Saliba raid.
Saliba signed for the Gunners in 2019 for the sum of £27m. The centre-back has, however, been on loan for the entirety of the time he’s been on Arsenal’s books. He is currently plying his trade in Ligue 1 for Marseille where he has exceeded expectations.
The 21-year-old has played to such a high standard that he has received a call up to France’s national team.
But rather than another loan deal, it’s suggested Milan might be open to a permanent move. That would, of course, involve a transfer fee – something that could bring Arsenal to the table.
The Gunners have solidified the partnership of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes this year and the pair perform well together.
Saliba has performed to a very high standard this season, amassing an average rating of 6.85 according to WhoScored. This is a more than respectable effort when compared to Ben White who has averaged 6.81.
It seems as if Saliba were to return to Arsenal and fight for his place, the thriving star may be little more than a back-up, despite his undoubted talents.
Why AC Milan want Saliba
Among their defensive ranks is the developing duo of Pierre Kalulu and Fikayo Tomori. The pair have been a formidable force in the top flight of Italian football this year. Tomori has come out on top with a rating of 6.87, according to WhoScored.
Kalulu is, by trade, a right-back. However, the 21- year-old has been commonly deployed at centre-back rather than his favoured position.
William Saliba wants to fight for his place at Arsenal
William Saliba wants his Arsenal return and is ready to fight for his place in the Arsenal back four
Milan do possess a decent amount of depth in their defensive department. The Likes of Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer are back-up to the pair.
Romagnoli, however, is out of contract in summer and Kjaer is still recovering from a horrific knee injury.
Saliba would benefit AC Milan’s team as he would be able to grow and develop within the club. He is also a good match for AC Milan’s style of play.
Where would he fit back at Arsenal?
Arsenal’s pairing of Gabriel and White has outperformed expectations this season.
White was signed for £50m from Brighton in the summer which was seen as a risk on Arteta’s behalf. The defender only had a year’s worth of Premier League experience but did previously excel in the Championship with Leeds.
Gabriel was signed the summer before for the fee of £27m and the pair have come into their stride this year. Along with Aaron Ramsdale, the trio provide a solid foundation from which to build.
Not only will he have to worry about the starting partnership, but when called upon, Rob Holding has also rarel;y put a foot wrong.
Arsenal legend William Gallas has also had his say on Saliba’s situation, stating that Arsenal’s system would have to change to guarantee him play time.
“[Arsenal] would have to switch to a back three for Saliba to stand a chance of becoming a regular,” Gallas said, via The Daily Mirror.
The defender deserves a regular starting spot in a team and it seems Arsenal won’t be able to guarantee that.