Arsenal: ‘One reason’ why defender has not signed new contract revealed as ‘thorny issue’ must be resolved

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal defender Saliba

The Athletic are reporting why William Saliba is yet to sign a new contract at Arsenal with talks ongoing ahead of the expiry of his deal in 2024.

The defender’s future at Arsenal was in doubt ahead of this season as he had spent several years away on loan in Ligue 1.

Saliba did not make his professional debut for Arsenal up until this campaign but he was one of the best defenders in France last season.

The 21-year-old has come into Mikel Arteta’s team this season and he has been in great form alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.

The club’s focus has now switched to securing Saliba’s services as his current contract is due to expire in 2024. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are out of contract at the same time.

The Athletic are reporting that ‘the longer the club want Saliba to commit for, the more they have to pay’.

They suggest that ‘one of the reasons’ why he is yet to extend his deal is that ‘Arsenal are not offering a wage his representatives consider commensurate with the long deal the club want to tie him to — and so talks go on’.

Discussions could yet continue for a while yet as the ‘thorny issue of agent fees’ is still to be considered. This is described as an ‘important part of negotiations’.

The report adds: ‘No one at Arsenal seems particularly panicked by their ongoing contract talks.

‘They appear to feel, particularly in the cases of first-team stars like Saka, Saliba, Martinelli and Ramsdale, that there is enough goodwill to see these negotiations through to a positive conclusion.

‘Ultimately, any deal will be a compromise between the club’s preference and the player’s demands.

It may worry Arsenal that a player’s agent ‘would not be doing his job if he was not at least prepared to listen to offers from elsewhere’.

Arsenal are also looking to extend some of their younger talent’s deals. Charlie Patino is out of contract next year but they will ‘activate a two-year option’ to keep him until 2025.

Patino is currently on loan at Championship side Blackpool. Speaking in October, their manager – Michael Appleton – lavished praise on the teenager.

“18 years old he still is, he can deal with the ball in any area of the pitch, go past people left side, right side,” Appleton said.

“I said when he came to the club he’s as good as anything I’ve seen dealing with the ball and with good movement of the ball as you’ve seen tonight he can play as a six, can play as a ten, can play as an eight.

“He’s got a really, really good future ahead of him… I thought he was outstanding tonight.”

The Athletic also note that ‘Arsenal face competition for the signatures of promising youngsters Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Anthony Lewis-Skelly’.

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