Nice have joined the race for Arsenal misfit William Saliba at the request of former Gunners star Patrick Vieira, according to reports.
Vieira spent nine seasons playing for Arsenal, and has been the manager of Nice since 2018. In that role, he could now turn to his former club for a reinforcement in the transfer market.
According to But! Football Club, Vieira wants to compete for the signing of Saliba in January.
The French defender has failed to make an impact since joining Arsenal from Saint-Ettiene in 2019. He spent last season on loan back at his former club, but contrary to what many expected, has not been able to force his way into contention at the Emirates Stadium since then.
In fact, Saliba is still waiting for his first senior appearance for Arsenal. Left out of their squad for the season, he has been restricted to playing for the Under-23s.
Therefore, he has since been linked with another loan move away, so that his development does not stagnate. Manager Mikel Arteta has even admitted he is “fed up” with the situation.
Saint-Ettiene would be willing to take Saliba back again, despite struggling to agree a deal in the summer. Former Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy, currently captain of the French club, has hinted they are still keen.
Nice need defensive cover
However, Saliba could end up teaming with another former Arsenal man instead. If the latest reports are to be believed, Vieira has requested that Nice move for him.
Vieira’s side have recently lost key defender Dante for a long period of time due to a knee ligament injury. Therefore, they will need cover in the January transfer window.
Saliba could be the reinforcement they need, with Vieira a fan of the 19-year-old. However, the report adds that Saliba would still prefer to return to Saint-Ettiene.
Wherever he ends up, it seems a loan spell is essential for Saliba at this stage of his career.