Title-winning suitor for double snubbed Arsenal misfit dents Newcastle hopes

Steve Pearson
William Saliba, Arsenal defender on loan at Nice

Newcastle have been dealt a big blow in their quest to bring an Arsenal misfit on board after a rival suitor that can offer something they can’t entered the frame.

Newcastle and Arsenal have experienced summer transfer windows at the opposite ends of the spectrum thus far. Both clubs endured underwhelming campaigns, though each did finish the season with a flourish. With hopes high of getting off to a faster start next year, the transfer window offered an opportunity to strengthen their respective hands.


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Arsenal have been linked with arrivals and departures in practically every department of their squad.

A familiar face to Liverpool fans was once again linked amid reports the Gunners were in talks. While the club’s search for a long-term option at left-back appears to have succeeded in double quick time.

Newcastle on the other hand, have seen very little by the way of projected comings and goings touted. However, one played that has been named as a possible loan signing is Arsenal centre-half, William Saliba.

The Frenchman is yet to make his Gunners first-team debut despite being highly rated back home.

A dazzling loan spell with Nice last season once again raised questions as to why a chance to impress at the Emirates has never been forthcoming.

William Saliba speaks to the press, Nice

Newcastle were linked with a loan approach to offer Saliba the chance to gain Premier League experience. That may be his only hope of game-time in England with Arsenal rumoured to be nearing an agreement to sign Ben White.

However, per the Daily Mail, Lille have muscled in on the Magpies’ hopes. The newspaper report that Saliba is ‘wanted’ by the French champions who can offer something Newcastle simply can’t match.

Their lure is Champions League football – something that would be difficult to dismiss.

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Saliba was recently named in France’s squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. That was yet another sign that his immediate future will lay away from Arsenal given he will not be involved in pre-season preparations.

But only time will tell whether Newcastle can convince him to move up north rather than return to France.

Newcastle path clears to £30m creative spark

Meanwhile, Benfica are ‘open’ to selling a Portuguese playmaker linked with a £30m move to Newcastle, according to a report.

HITC (citing the Sunday Mirror) revealed that Benfica’s Rafa Silva was a potential target. Indicating how strong their interest was, Newcastle were labelled ‘top’ of the clubs chasing his signature.

The 28-year-old is capable of operating on either side of the midfield or in the No. 10 role. Last season he notched nine goals and 10 assists across all competitions. He has also featured regularly in his national side’s squads over the last seven years.

Silva holds a lofty €80m release clause within his contract, though a figure of around £30m is expected to twist Benfica’s arm. Now, Portuguese outlet A Bola has picked up on the reports and detailed Benfica’s perspective on the links.

Via Sport Witness, they note that Benfica are indeed ‘open’ to moving Silva on this summer. Furthermore, he is considered one of their best options to recoup a significant fee.

READ MORE: ‘Breakthrough’ expected soon as Arsenal improve bid for top midfield target