Arsenal are expected to enter contract talks with defender William Saliba at the end of the season.
Saliba joined the Gunners in 2019, but has not yet made his competitive debut for the club, spending time on loan at Saint-Etienne, Nice and most currently Marseille.
The centre-back has been a key part of Jorge Sampaoli’s side at Stade Velodrome this term, making 38 appearances in all competitions so far. As per football.london, Marseille are keen to sign Saliba permanently but the player would prefer to remain in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old’s Arsenal contract is set to expire in 2024 and it is said that the club will enter talks over fresh terms when he returns from his latest loan spell at the end of the season.
Although Saliba is unlikely to displace starting centre-back pairing Ben White and Gabriel, he could be useful as right-back cover. Hector Bellerin, currently on loan at Real Betis, is expected to leave in summer, but that still leaves Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares ahead in the pecking order.
When asked about Saliba at the beginning of the season Mikel Arteta insisted that he remained firmly in his first-team plans.
“He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us. Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision,” he said when asked why Saliba had been sent on loan.
“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.
“But a lot of things have happened to him he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.
“For him, he needs much more than that, because what happened in the last 18 months, he’s been through some personal problems as well that we have to try to help him and stay as close as possible to him.
“And now he needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well. And in order to do that I think we found the right club with him. He’s very happy to go there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”
For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter