La Liga giants Atletico Madrid wish to sign Arsenal center-back William Saliba for free next summer, Fijaches has claimed (via The Sun).
Arsenal signed Saliba from French club Saint Etienne for a £27 million fee in 2019. Despite splurging a significant amount on the defender, the Gunners were not quick to hand him his competitive debut. After spending three seasons away on loan at St-Etienne (2019-20), Nice (2020-21), and Marseille (2020-21), the Frenchman finally debuted in the Premier League clash against Crystal Palace on August 5.
Saliba has been one of the first names on the team sheet for Mikel Arteta’s side this season, but his future remains in the air. The former Marseille man sees his original contract expire in June 2023, and already has suitors lined up for him.
According to the aforementioned source, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is keen to bring him to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Los Rojiblancos were believed to be close to signing Saliba in 2019, but ultimately lost out to Arsenal.
| QUICK STAT
Among 231 players that have contested at least 20 duels in the Premier League in October, only two recorded a duel success rate of 75% or higher — William Saliba (78.6%) and Virgil van Dijk (75.0%).
The comparisons won’t stop anytime soon.
The 2020-21 La Liga winners are reportedly in the market for a leader in defense, and Saliba has emerged as a favorite. Altetico Madrid’s other center-back options, Felipe, Jose Maria Gimenez, and Stefan Savic, have all struggled to live up to their billing this season.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain are also supposedly interested in acquiring Saliba’s services. It has been claimed that the player loves living in France, which could make PSG’s offer more lucrative.
It is believed that the north London club are desperate to tie the Frenchman down to a long-term contract.
Even if they cannot rope him in with a long-term deal, they could use the clause in his contract to extend his stay for an additional year (June 2024).
Arsenal in “formal” contract talks with William Saliba
Renowned journalist David Ornstein has claimed that Mikel Arteta’s side have formally opened talks with Saliba over a contract extension. The Emirates outfit could keep the player until June 2024 by activating the one-year extension option in his contract. But they supposedly intend to keep him beyond 2024.
William Saliba is clear of the butcher.
Ornstein has revealed that no agreement has been reached yet, but negotiations are ongoing with the France international. On Twitter, he wrote (via FootballTransferTavern):
“Arsenal now in formal contract talks with William Saliba. Offer made to 21yo defender – no agreement yet but negotiations ongoing as #AFC seek to secure long-term future of France international. Current deal 2023 + option to extend by 1yr.”
Saliba has featured in 14 games for Arsenal this season across competitions, scoring twice and claiming an assist.
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