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The Gunners struggling to persuade defender to stay amid ‘rift’ with Mikel Arteta


The Gunners struggling to persuade defender to stay amid ‘rift’ with Mikel Arteta

Arsenal are reportedly struggling to persuade defender William Saliba to commit his future to the club and may be forced to sell him next summer.

Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in 2019 with high expectations, but the 20-year-old has yet to make his competitive debut and has been loaned out three times.

This season, Saliba has excelled at the heart of Marseille’s Ligue 1 defense, raising serious concerns about Arsenal’s treatment of the promising Frenchman, who cost the club £27 million two years ago.

According to the Sun, Saliba feels underappreciated due to an ongoing ‘rift’ with Mikel Arteta, which may stem from Arsenal denying him a place in Saint-Coupe Etienne’s de France Final against Paris Saint-Germain last year.

There was a sense that Saliba would finally get his chance ahead of the new season, and Arteta hinted as much after the centre-back impressed on loan at Nice towards the end of last season.

However, the youngster’s dissatisfaction grew as the north London giants strengthened their defense in the summer transfer window with the additions of Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, seemingly blocking his path to regular minutes at the Emirates.

Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari, and Calum Chambers are also standing in front of Saliba.

Saliba will have been desperate to remind Arteta of his quality this season, and he has done just that, with Jorge Sampaoli hailing him as a “future great of French football” following Marseille’s 2-0 win over Rennes.

The France Under-21 international then went on to put in a standout performance in Marseille’s goalless draw with Paris Saint-Germain over the weekend, keeping Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar at bay at the Orange Velodrome.

According to The Sun, Arsenal have not made a final decision on Saliba’s possible departure, but the centre-half still has a lot to prove and the Gunners will keep a close eye on his progress this season.

According to the report, a summer move is not out of the question, with Marseille interested in a long-term deal.

Saliba has been pleased with his form this season and considers his recent performance against PSG to be the best of his career, with the defender producing a spectacular last-ditch challenge to stop Mbappe in the dying moments.

“I saw he made the call so I was like, ‘Either take the red or I take the ball’. I tackled the ball well so there you go,” he told reporters shortly after the final whistle.

“It’s the best game of my career, playing a Classico at the Velodrome with this atmosphere.

“Today we drew, it’s not that bad. We lacked a little efficiency, but from Wednesday we will try to bring all three points.”


The Gunners struggling to persuade defender to stay amid ‘rift’ with Mikel Arteta

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