Edu explains thinking as Arsenal loan out William Saliba again

William Saliba speaks to the press, Nice

Promising young Arsenal defender William Saliba will spend the upcoming season on loan at Ligue 1 side Marseille.

The 20-year-old centre-back joined the Gunners from St Etienne in 2019 for a reported £27million but has yet to make his first-team debut. He was loaned back to St Etienne for the 2019-20 campaign and spent the second half of last season with Nice.

And Arsenal announced on Thursday the France Under-20 international would have another loan stint in his home country with a one-year stay at Marseille.

Technical director Edu told the club’s website: “Together with William, we have decided it will be good for his continued development to spend another season on loan.

“William joined us as an 18-year-old, and he is still only 20, so he is still developing all the time.

“William is a player with strong natural ability. Next season has the potential to be really beneficial for him at Marseille, a good club.

“To play another season in Ligue 1 will be very important for his development.”

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Barca decision to spark mad scramble

Meanwhile, a mad scramble among a series of Premier League teams could be about to begin after Barcelona confirmed an in-demand star will be leaving the club, per a report.

Barcelona have been one of the most intriguing clubs to follow this summer owing to their financial strife. Gone are the days of mega-money buys. Instead, they have been replaced by canny free agent acquisitions the likes of Sergio Aguero.

Their change in strategy stems from the huge debts they have incurred amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Martin Braithwaite celebrating with Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona, November 2020

After a protracted saga, Lionel Messi has verbally agreed to fresh terms that will keep him at the Nou Camp until age 39.

A massive 50 percent pay cut was stated to have been agreed, further demonstrating the club’s weakened position.

As such, several high profile names have been rumoured to be on the chopping block to ease their financial burden.

Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic could depart, but the most interesting player to English audiences is Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian failed to live up to the hype since joining from Liverpool in 2018. His nightmare in Barcelona was further exacerbated last season when suffering a knee injury that had ruled him out since January.

However, per Football Espana (citing Diario Sport), Barcelona’s medical team have given the playmaker the all-clear to compete again. But in doing so, they have come to the conclusion that Coutinho’s days at the club are now over.

The 30-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal. That leaves the door open to both a loan or permanent approach.

Either would benefit Barcelona’s immediate finances, and Arsenal, Leicester, Everton and Liverpool have all been linked in recent months.

A move for Coutinho would undoubtedly be a gamble. But his best football was played during his time in England and a fresh start in familiar territory may be just what Coutinho needs to bring out his best once more.

READ MORE: Boyhood Arsenal fan ready to snub Mourinho for Emirates switch