Premier League • England

William Saliba transfer latest: Marseille turning the screw after president flies into London for talks

William Saliba Arsenal July 2022

Marseille have upped the ante over a move for William Saliba after their president Pablo Longoria flew into London to meet the player’s agent for dinner on Monday night.

That report has come via the reliable Fabrizio Romano, who offers nothing more than a meeting took place. But the fact that OM have made a concerted move to get Saliba back to the south of France has come too late as far as Jorge Sampaoli is concerned.

The Chilean boss quit the club at the start of the month over a disagreement over transfers.

L’Equipe claimed Sampaoli was not happy with the club’s recruitment plans and CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs has claimed Sampaoli thought OM should have tried harder to retain Saliba.

The 21-year-old spent last season on loan and was named Ligue 1 Player of the Year as he helped the French side into the Champions League.

Now though Longoria has met with Saliba’s representatives, presumably to try and engineer a return to Marseille.

Romano has previously claimed that it would take “a crazy offer” for Arsenal to sell Saliba.

The central defender has yet to kick a ball competitively for Arsenal and has been loaned out three times. But after starring on Arsenal’s pre-season tour, Mikel Arteta has decided to integrate the player into his first team squad.

Saliba featured in the friendly win against Everton. And he came off the bench in the win over Orlando, replacing Rob Holding after 59 minutes. While the defender partnered Gabriel Magalhaes in the 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Can Arsenal keep Saliba?

“I am really pleased to see the way he is playing. The way he has adapted to the team, the maturity that he’s shown at 21 years old, carry on doing it.

“We will keep developing him, he has huge potential. He is already a top player and we have to make him even better,” said Arteta after the victory.”

Arteta is now sure that the France defender is “ready” for the Premier League. But an offer from Marseille may be tempting for the player, who was such a hero at the Velodrome.

The future for Saliba will most probably come down to playing time and he will be guaranteed that in France. That is unlikely to be the case for Arsenal because Arteta has a number of options available to him at the back.

Holding, Gabriel, Ben White and Pablo Mari are all available for Arteta along with Saliba. Mari may well be moved on. But that will still leave Saliba battling with three other players for two places at the heart of the defence.