Marseille ‘want to keep’ Saliba after Arsenal loan ends

Jason Soutar
Marseille defender William Saliba defending Kylian Mbappe

Marseille will look to sign Arsenal defender William Saliba on a permanent basis once his season-long loan finishes, according to reports.

The France Under-21s defender signed for the Gunners in 2019, but has failed to make a single competitive appearance for the first team.

A loan back to Saint-Etienne was part of the deal to sign Saliba, and he spent the second half of last season on loan at Nice before joining Marseille for 2021/22.

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The 20-year-old has been very impressive this term, becoming a very important player in a back-three under Jorge Sampaoli.

He has played 90 minutes in 12 of Marseille’s 13 Ligue 1 fixtures this term, as well as every minute of their Europa League campaign.

Saliba’s fine form was rewarded with a first call up to France’s U21 side, being promoted to captain in only his second appearance for Les Bleuets.

And Marseille have been so impressed with the centre-back that they want to sign him permanently next summer, claims Ekrem Konur.

“Olympique de Marseille want to keep William Saliba in the team permanently,” the European transfer journalist said on Twitter.

He added: “Talks with Arsenal will begin soon.”

However, Fabrizio Romano reported last month that the Gunners are 100 per cent behind the young defender, saying: “Arsenal are following William Saliba’s progress closely – they are really happy with the French centre back.

“Arsenal told Saliba weeks ago that they trust him 100% for the future, he joined OM on loan to play all games as starter then he’ll be back.”

Despite his lack of first-team opportunities under Mikel Arteta, his excellent progress and multiple reports suggest he will be given a chance at the Emirates next season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has revealed he could have joined Tottenham, admitting he would rather “retire” than sign for them now.

Speaking on a Sky Sports Fan Q&A, a Gunners fan asked Aubameyang what he would rather do: retire or join arch-rivals Spurs.

“You don’t need to ask the question,” he responded. “You know it already. I would retire.

“I don’t know if you know this, but a few years ago, I was close to signing for Tottenham. In the end… I don’t know what they did. So I’d rather retire!”