Confirmed: Arsenal in discussions over Saliba's future

Robin Bairner
How Saliba’s Nice loan sets him up to be David Luiz’s Arsenal replacement

How Saliba’s Nice loan sets him up to be David Luiz’s Arsenal replacement

William Saliba is set to leave Arsenal this summer, with Rennes having confessed that they are one of the clubs who want to sign him.

Although Saliba’s arrival from Saint-Etienne in 2019 was greeted with a fanfare, the young Frenchman has failed to live up to his €30 million price tag and has rarely featured for the Gunners.

With Ben White close to a move to the Emirates Stadium, it appears that even a promising loan spell in Ligue 1 with Nice has not convinced technical director Edu and head coach Mikel Arteta that he is a solution for 2021/22.

Indeed, Rennes sporting director Florian Maurice has confessed that his side have been in talks with Arsenal – while there are others also interested.

There are discussions and we are not the only ones in Ligue 1 and abroad
- Florian Maurice (Rennes sporting director)

“It’s an avenue that we’re currently studying,” he told Ouest France in relation to the 20-year-old Saliba. “It’s a bit blocked.

“There are discussions and we are not the only ones in Ligue 1 and abroad.”

While Nice are thought to be looking at Saliba to reinforce their defence, it is unclear who the other teams interested in the centre-back are.

Rennes have other options

Rennes, meanwhile, are keeping their options open in that sector, with Lens defender Loic Bade having been subject to a €15 million bid earlier this summer.

“We’re in talks,” Maurice said. “He’s a target that was identified very early on. It may take a little while.

“The player wants to come but Lens are greedy.”

Maurice, however, said that another former Arsenal player, David Luiz, is not being tracked by the club currently, and also denied talk that Bayern Munich’s Michael Cuisance is on his way to the Bretons after a difficult spell with Marseille last season.