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Arsenal and William Saliba in talks over extension of contract

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By Martin Graham | 2nd Nov 2022

Arsenal have begun talks with their young French defender, William Saliba, over an extension of his current contract, according to reports.

The 21-year-old defender joined Arsenal in 2019 as a highly-rated teenager but never got the chance to feature for the side. Loans to French Ligue 1 clubs Saint-Etienne, OGC Nice and Olympique de Marseille followed soon after which helped the defender grow and gain valuable game time. His performances in those loan spells also caught the eye of the France national team and he got his first call-up to the squad.

He is now part and parcel of the national team, but like every other player, will only be considered for competitions depending on the vision of the manager.

Now back with Arsenal following strong performances in France and on international duty, the Saint-Etienne youth product has brought a different dimension to the Gunners’ defence playing alongside Gabriel Magalhaes. And just like they did with his Brazilian teammate a few days ago, they are in the final stages of tying Saliba down to a new long-term contract at the Emirates.

Signed for £23 million, his current deal expires in 2023 with the option of an extra year. Arsenal are now looking to activate that option but to also extend it beyond one year. The negotiations are ongoing and there is not much info to share on the length of contract the Premier League side are willing to offer the Frenchman.

The defender is already attracting interest from all across Europe with his strong performances, which is why the club have made the move to formally negotiate new terms. French giants Paris Saint-Germain and German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich are said to be keeping a keen eye on the defender.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are also on the list of players whose contracts Arsenal would like to sort out soon, as they, like Saliba, are attracting attention. Saka, who limped off injured, has been targeted by Liverpool who see him as a replacement for Mohamed Salah.

The versatile winger reported to the club’s facilities for tests on Monday, which was the squad’s day off after the knock he picked in the 5 – 0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Sunday. If he’s injured, it will be a big blow to his World Cup hopes as well as Arteta’s plans for the rest of the season, as he currently has fitness issues ravaging his entire squad.

Reiss Nelson has shown he can take up the mantle for Saka, however, with his stunning performance against Nottingham Forest still making headlines.

The 22-year-old scored two goals at the beginning of the second half of the tie to crush the visitors’ confidence, allowing for Arsenal to totally outplay them and run out with their biggest scoreline under Arteta.

Arteta, however, would rather have a full strength squad as the season gets into the business end.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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