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Napoli inquire about Arsenal defender Saliba

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By Martin Graham | 7th Jun 2022

Latest reports coming out of Itlay have claimed that Napoli are inquiring about the possibility of taking William Saliba from Arsenal.

The 21-year-old defender has been unable to find a place in the Emirates since his move to the Premier League side from French Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne in 2019. He has spent most of that time on loan back in France, playing for his old club, OGC Nice, and most recently, Olympique de Marseille.

He shone through at the Orange Velodrome and caught the eye of the world once again, just like he did as an 18-year-old in Saint-Etienne all those years ago. This also earned him his first call up to the French national team, where he currently is participating in the UEFA Nations League.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who has been adamant about sending the defender out on loan, has now claimed justification for his actions after his performances in the past year. The Spanish tactician has also stated that Saliba will be a part of the team’s pre-season with a view of integrating him into the squad ahead of the new season.

Saliba, who had previously stated his desire to remain at the Orange Velodrome with Marseille, has also decided to fight for his place at Arsenal following his manager’s pronouncement. All that could change as Napoli are now in the mix.

The Partenopei let the Scudetto title slip from their grasp in the just concluded Seri A season after spending two different spells in first place on the table. A new-look defence tops their transfer agenda for the summer with the looming possibility of star centre back Kalidou Koulibaly exiting. However, if they can manage to keep the Senegalese international, they are looking to pair him up with another serious defender.

This report is according to Italian journalist Gianluigi Longari, who tweeted that Napoli have made an exploratory move for Saliba. The Serie A club have contacted Arsenal to find out about the possibility of a deal being reached this summer, but it is unclear whether they want him on loan or as a summer transfer.

Saliba will not come cheap for the Partenopei, however, as he is currently valued at €30 million. The club will have to sanction a few exits to get any possible deal over the line.

Some of the possible transfers away from the club are Fabian Ruiz, Piotr Zielinski and Koulibaly, who they still hope to keep and possibly pair with Saliba for a stronger defence.

Napoli could also face competition from Marseille in the chase for Saliba’s signature as the French club is interested in a permanent deal for the 21-year-old defender. If Saliba is to leave Emirates again, the board will surely favour a transfer over a loan, as will the player.

This means Napoli will have to work towards a transfer if they intend to bring Saliba to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the summer.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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