Arsenal outcast Saliba set to join Nice on loan

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William Saliba Arsenal 2020-21
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The French defender will spend the second half of the campaign in his homeland after a frustrating start to his career at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal outcast William Saliba is set to join Nice on loan, Goal can confirm.

The Frenchman will undergo a medical at Allianz Riviera on Monday, before joining the Ligue 1 club until the end of the season.

No option to buy will be included in the final deal, with Arsenal adamant that Saliba still has a future at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners are hoping the 19-year-old can start playing regular football again at Nice, who have agreed to cover his wages in full for the next six months.

Saliba signed for Arsenal Saint Etienne for £27 million ($37m) in July 2019 and was subsequently sent back to Geoffroy Stadium on a season-long loan.

The centre-back finally joined up with his new team-mates at Emirates Stadium last summer but has since been unable to force his way into Mikel Arteta's plans.

He has not made a single appearance for the Gunners in the first half of the 2020-21 campaign, with Rob Holding, Gabriel, Pablo Mari and David Luiz currently ahead of him in the squad.

Arteta was asked when supporters could expect to see Saliba in action at the start of December, to which he offered the frank response: "Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he's ready to play with us."

Saliba appeared to express frustration over his situation in north London during a social media exchange with Matteo Guendouzi later in the month. He commented on one of Guendouzi's posts on Instagram saying he'd been "locked up" at the start of his career at the Emirates, and the midfielder, who is currently on loan at Hertha Berlin, replied: “We’re together, my little brother."

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Should his transfer to Nice go through without a hitch, Saliba could be in line to make his debut for the club as early as Wednesday.

Adrian Ursea's side are due back in Ligue 1 action away at Brest, but their new signing may ultimately be saved until their next fixture against Metz on January 9.

Nice are currently languishing down in 12th in the French top flight, however they still have a game in hand on all four teams above them up to eighth, with European qualification still a realistic goal if they can put together a solid run of wins.

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