Premier League • England

Arsenal set to hand William Saliba new long-term deal after star wins over Mikel Arteta, Edu

William Saliba during a France friendly

William Saliba has done enough this summer to earn a new, long-term Arsenal contract, according to a report.

Arsenal signed the centre-back from Saint-Etienne for £27million three years ago. However, Gunners chiefs didn’t think he was ready for the first team at the time and sent him straight back to the French club on loan.

And Saliba spent the next two seasons on loan at Nice and Marseille respectively. He has done well at all three clubs and is now a part of the French national team, having won five caps so far.

Arteta, along with Arsenal technical director Edu, thinks now is the right time to give Saliba his chance at the Emirates.

The player finally made his debut for the club in their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace a week ago. He played in defence alongside Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Saliba did well, despite it being his first ever match in English football. Along with likes of White and Gabriel, he managed to keep Palace stars Wilfried Zaha and Ebere Eze at bay.

Saliba has two years left to run on the five-year deal he penned with Arsenal when joining them in 2019. But the north London side want to reward him for getting into Arteta’s plans by offering a new contract.

According to 90Min, Arsenal have been in talks with the Frenchman and his agent over an extension.

Arsenal gain William Saliba trust

Contract discussions were previously held at the start of the summer, upon Saliba’s return from his latest loan.

The star did not want to extend his terms then as he was keen to wait and see if Arteta would give him opportunities. Now this is a certainty, Saliba is highly likely to extend his deal with the Gunners.

The report doesn’t reveal how much the contract will be worth a week, or how long it will last for.

Presumably, Arsenal will give Saliba a pay rise. According to Spotrac, he takes home £40,000 per week currently. Expect this to rise significantly when the new terms are announced.

In terms of the contract length, it would be no surprise if Arsenal tied Saliba down until 2026 or 2027. After all, he is seen as an important player for the club going forward.

Marseille were hoping to capture Saliba on a permanent basis in July following his impressive loan spell there. And their president, Pablo Longoria, even flew to London to meet Saliba’s agent.

However, the 21-year-old is now set to remain in north London and will attempt to have a hugely successful debut campaign there. This means Marseille need to pursue other central defenders.

Having Saliba in the squad means Arteta can change formation with relative ease. He could go with a back four, playing Gabriel and Saliba in the centre and White at right-back, as well as Kieran Tierney or Zinchenko on the left.

Or, the Spanish coach could utilise Saliba, Gabriel and White in a back three. This would result in Zinchenko, Tierney or Bukayo Saka potentially operating as wing-backs.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are turning their attention to an Arsenal player after failing to land Cesar Azpilicueta, as per Mundo Deportivo.