Marseille hope to rekindle talks with Arsenal over a permanent deal for William Saliba but respect the wishes of the defender’s parent club, who are keen to offer him a first-team opportunity next season.
The Frenchman was bought by the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for £35million in 2019 but he has one game left for the club after several stints on loan in France.
Saliba performed well at Marseille last season and was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year. His progress has caught the eye of manager Mikel Arteta, who wants him to stay at the Emirates.
However, Marseille are keen to keep the 21-year-old, who is valued at £35million, and their president Pablo Longoria confirmed they are seeking talks with Arsenal, who he praised for their flexibility and understanding during previous negotiations.
Speaking to RMS Sport, he said: “We’ve had a lot of conversations analyzing William Saliba’s season, especially over the past few days.
“He has had an exceptional season with one of the highest number of games played in Europe. He also joined the French team which is incredible at his age.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion internally about what we can do to find out what the possibilities are. We respect his club, we have Arsenal to thank. Arsenal are a friendly club who helped us a lot in the last transfer window. We have very good relationships.
“We have to talk to each other, see if there’s a possibility of reaching an agreement between the clubs, there’s the will of the player, the will of the club… But most of all we have to respect Arsenal.”
Saliba made over 50 appearances for Marseille this season and joined the France national team in March.
The defender has spoken of his desire to stay at Marseille, where he has been promised regular playing time.
The Gunners have qualified for the Europa League for next season and need a bigger squad to handle the extra games.
They have already let Konstantinos Mavropanos go to Stuttgart and are reportedly planning Pablo Mari’s exit to Udinese.
Saliba’s departure would leave Arteta with only Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding as central defenders next season.
MORE: David James tells Arsenal and Tottenham to target Gabriel Jesus to stay at Manchester City
MORE : ‘He’s Arsenal or Tottenham’ – Marcus Rashford ‘not good enough’ for Manchester United, says Jamie Carragher
For more stories like this, visit our sports page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/26/marseille-chief-sends-class-message-to-arsenal-over-incredible-william-saliba-16715049/ Marseille boss sends class message to Arsenal about 'incredible William Saliba | Soccer