Arsenal to open Saliba talks after on-loan Marseille defender's first France call-up

William Saliba Marseille 2021-22 Getty/GOAL

Arsenal are due to open talks over William Saliba’s long-term future in the next few weeks.

The Gunners defender is currently impressing while on loan with Marseille and has just been rewarded for his performances by earning a first senior call-up for the France national team.

But his Arsenal career remains up in the air and discussions are set to open soon in a bid to bring some clarity to the situation ahead of the summer.

What’s the latest?

Talks have yet to take place between Arsenal and Saliba’s representatives about the 20-year-old centre-back, who has yet to make a single competitive appearance for the Gunners following his £27 million ($35m) move from Saint-Etienne in July, 2019.

The defender is now on his third loan spell away from the north London club and will have just two years left on his deal at the end of the season.

There have been no discussions yet about a potential new deal, but a meeting is expected to take place in the next few weeks, with Saliba and his representatives keen to find out how Arsenal view the young defender and what the plan is for his future.

Arsenal have always insisted Saliba remains a part of the club’s plans, but Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes have formed a formidable partnership at the heart of Mikel Arteta’s new-look defence this season.

What has Saliba said?

Saliba has always maintained his sole focus this season has been on performing for Marseille.

The centre-back has been quizzed several times on his long-term future throughout the campaign, but has consistently stated that he wants to concentrate on football until the end of the season.

“We’ll sit down at the end of the season,” he said earlier this month, when asked about the possibility of signing for Marseillie on a permanent basis.

The deal Arsenal agreed with Marseille for Saliba last summer was just a straight loan, and it did not include any option to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

First international call-up

Saliba’s fine performances with Marseille this season have now been rewarded with a first call-up to the France national team.

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The centre-back has been drafted in by Didier Deschamps as a replacement for Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard, who has had to withdraw due to Covid-19.

France are due to play Ivory Coast on Friday night before hosting South Africa on Tuesday, March 29.

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