Could Saliba leave Arsenal for good next summer?

Stefan Bienkowski
Arsenal defender William Saliba

Marseille president Pablo Longoria has suggested that the Ligue 1 may try to sign Arsenal defender William Saliba on a permanent deal at the end of the season.

Saliba made the move to the French club this summer on a loan deal, which will make it the defender’s third spell in Ligue 1 since he joined Arsenal in 2019.

Despite being considered as a very promising, young defender, Saliba has struggled to make a mark at the English club.

And as such, Longoria has hinted that Marseille may push the boat out and see if Saliba could be signed permanently before he finishes his third loan spell at Arsenal.

"On William, we have to talk to Arsenal later in the season,” said the Marseille boss in a press conference.

“If we talk about a loan with or without an option to buy, we are always negotiating. We are aware of his potential.

"William is a player with extraordinary potential, one of the best modern centre-backs in Europe."

In more troubling news for Arsenal fans, the player was just as coy about a permanent move back to French football at the press conference.

"I chose Marseille because it is the right choice,” said Saliba during the press event.

“I pushed to come here. We will see what will happen next season."

Could Saliba leave Arsenal next season?

With a contract at Arsenal until 2024, the London club can rest assured that Saliba won’t be able to really force any moves away from the club anytime soon. However, that doesn’t rule out a permanent move to Marseille next summer.

It’s undoubtedly fair to say that the defender’s move to Arsenal hasn’t exactly gone to plan since he left Saint-Etienne, with Saliba still yet to play a single first team game for the Premier League giants.

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As such, it seems as though Arsenal remain unconvinced by Saliba’s talents, with the club’s technical director going as far as to admit that the defender was still not ready for Mikel Arteta’s squad.

Whether it comes from Arsenal’s apparent indifference to the defender or Saliba’s own desire to play for a club that values him, a permanent move away next summer doesn’t seem unlikely at all.