Arsenal transfer up in smoke after misfit remembers previous slight

William Saliba Nice, on loan from Arsenal January 2021

A rarely seen Arsenal star has rejected an opportunity to shine elsewhere after a previous slight left him in the lurch last year, per a report.

It is fair to say William Saliba has not had the impact many believed he would since joining Arsenal. The French centre-half is highly rated in his native country, yet still has not featured in a competitive first-team fixture for the Gunners.

Saliba was expected to be loaned out at the start of last season, though after a few close calls, an exit did not materialise.

That left the youngster kicking his heels in the club’s Under-23 side before eventually joining Nice for a six-month loan stint in January.

Saliba dazzled during the spell, but it was seemingly not enough to convince Mikel Arteta.

Saliba was allowed to be named in the French Olympic squad for this summer’s games in Tokyo. As such, he will miss the majority of pre-season which indicates he is not in his manager’s plans.

A loan move to Newcastle has been touted, but per Sport Witness, a route back home has been soundly closed off by the player.

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Citing Ouest France, they reveal that Saliba has personally rejected a loan approach from Rennes.

His reasoning stems from the club’s approach this time last summer that ultimately failed to pan out. Saliba reportedly agreed to the move, but after Rennes pulled out late, Saliba was left ‘stuck’ in limbo.

He is said to have not fully ‘digested’ the slight, and has therefore ruled out any Rennes hopes over the coup.

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Manuel Locatelli celebrating with Lorenzo Insigne, Italy, Euro 2020, June 2021

Meanwhile, Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali has revealed that Arsenal have the edge in the transfer race for Italy star Manuel Locatelli.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia), Carnevali confirmed prior reports. However, he added that his club are trying their best not to interfere with Locatelli’s Euro 2020 participation.

“We are trying to leave the lad calm, so I haven’t spoken to him or his agents yet,” said Carenvali. “We can think about Locatelli’s future. But above all we care about his present and that means Italy doing well at the Euros.

“Juventus are the only Italian club we talked to about Locatelli. They have interest, we spoke to [director Federico] Cherubini last week. We have not yet discussed the financial details, but we have a good rapport and will talk it over soon.

“It’s true that there are foreign clubs interested, including Arsenal. So far they are ahead and are the only side realistically to have made an important proposal for Manuel.”

He added (via Football London): “Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid… we will see.”

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