Saliba joined Arsenal as one of the most promising teenage centrebacks from French Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne in 2019. After putting pen to paper tying him down to the club for the next five years, he was sent on loan spells to help him gain more experience as the club prepared for his full debut. After three years of constantly performing on loan, he finally got his chance at Arsenal and has grabbed it with both hands.
He is now one of Arteta’s untouchables at the club. However, the issue of his contract lingers as both parties have been unable to come to an agreement as to his extended stay beyond 2024.
The discussions have been ongoing, however, and reports claim that both parties are interested in continuing their relationship. Arteta has confirmed the reports in his latest comments, while giving a little update on the progress of the negotiations.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of their Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Arteta said: “That’s more to Edu and the board to be discussing with him. What I know is that the player is really happy, the player wants to be here and that’s the main thing. We have a few of those that we are willing to extend the contract.
“Willy is one of them. I think he’s shown in the months that he’s been with us the quality and the personality he has to play at the level that we want. We are trying to do that because we know he can be a really important part of our plans.”
The 21-year-old currently earns £40,000 weekly but the club are looking to boost his contract to see him become one of their highest earners.
He has started all of the club’s 15 Premier League games this season and is a huge part of why Arsenal have the second best defensive record in the league. Arteta showered praise on the young Frenchman for his role in this accomplishment.
“He’s now one of the best defenders in the Premier League, that’s for sure,” Arteta said. “He is the future of Arsenal Football Club, but also of the French national team.”
It is understood that Saliba also wants to remain at the club and the Gunners are hoping they can get a new deal over the line in the January transfer window.