Arsenal defender William Saliba is poised to return to France and join Nice on loan until the end of the season.
Numerous different sources have reported the proposed transfer with the 19-year-old in “advanced talks”, according to the Evening Standard.
Nice will pay all of his wages, which are believed to be in the region of £40,000-a-week, but will not pay a loan fee.
Sky Sports claim the Ligue 1 club will not have an option to make the move permanent. Mikel Arteta, despite not handing the player his debut, still thinks the defender has a long-term future at The Emirates.
Saliba signed for the Gunners 18 months ago for a fee thought to amount to £27millon.
He was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne.
His spell in France, under Claude Puel, came to an end in July 2020. And when he was handed the No.4 shirt for Arsenal, hopes were high of him making a big impact.
However, he’s yet to play a single minute for the club.
Saliba may also have harmed his chances during an Instagram chat with French compatriot and fellow Arsenal star Matteo Guendouzi.
“I’m sending well wishes to the brother who was locked up like me,” said Saliba. That was a reference to Guendouzi also being frozen out before his loan move to Hertha Berlin.
Arteta was ‘fed up with the situation’
In November the Arsenal manager admitted that Saliba’s current predicament did not benefit anyone.
“I am fed up with the situation because as you could see we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football,” he said.
“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne, for many reasons that didn’t happen, he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.
“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team we had to leave him out of the squad which is painful because we have some injuries and we could have used him, but it’s part of this profession.”