Arsenal set to begin contract extension talks with William Saliba despite defender not making appearance yet
ARSENAL are set to open contract talks with William Saliba, according to reports.
The French defender, 21, is STILL yet to play a single game for the Gunners following his £27million move from Saint-Etienne three years ago.
Saliba has since been loaned back to Saint-Etienne, as well as Nice and Marseille – where he won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season award for 2021-22.
Mikel Arteta recently confirmed the young centre-back was in his plans with his inconsistent back-line conceding 48 times last season.
And now Arsenal are on the brink of offering Saliba a contract extension, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The transfer guru tweeted: "Arsenal plan for William Saliba has not changed: he's considered an important player for present and future.
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"Both Arteta and Edu want him as part of the team for next season.
"There will be conversation on potential new contract soon, up to Saliba too."
Saliba will return to Arsenal next month as his fruitful loan spell at Marseille – which also saw him earn his senior France debut – comes to an end.
But the French club aren't giving up on signing the centre-back on a permanent deal this summer.
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President Pablo Longoria told RMC Sport: “We had a lot of conversations analysingSaliba’s season, especially in the last few days.
"He’s coming off an extraordinary season, with one of the highest number of matches played in Europe. He also joined the France team, which is incredible at his age.
"We discussed a lot internally about what we can do, to find out what the possibilities are.
“We respect his club, we have to thank Arsenal. It’s a friendly club that helped us a lot during the last transfer window. We have very good relations.
"We have to talk to each other, see if there is the possibility of reaching an agreement between the clubs, there is the player’s will, the club’s will…
"But above all, we must respect Arsenal.”
Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli hinted Saliba wants to stay at the club, claiming: "William’s desire is not in doubt.
"He’s obviously told Pablo [Longoria] and he said it to me again on the pitch on Saturday. He is sincere, but there is a contractual reality.
"He belongs to Arsenal. But if his desire is to stay with us, we will see. Everyone wants him to be here next season."
However, Marseille will face a fight with Arteta finally willing to incorporate the defender into his plans.
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The Gunners boss revealed: "Saliba has to come back. He has the experience to be competitive with us.
"We sent him to Marseille for his growth. William wanted to be regular starter as you know but now we want him back at Arsenal.”
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