Fabrizio Romano reveals £27m Arsenal man "really close to leaving" on loan

Mikel Arteta on the sidelines amid speculation over the future of Arsenal's William Saliba

According to famed journalist Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal defender William Saliba is close to joining Marseille on a loan deal without an option to buy.

What’s the latest transfer news involving William Saliba?

Last month football.london claimed that Saliba’s agent had entered talks with Arsenal’s technical director Edu to discuss the defender’s future at the north London club.

The report suggested that the Gunners were assessing what is best for the 20-year-old who is set to miss pre-season with Mikel Arteta’s side after being called up to the France squad for the Olympic games this summer.

Saliba signed for Arsenal in 2019 for a reported fee of £27m, but has been sent out on loan to Saint-Etienne and Nice in recent seasons.

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What has Romano said about Saliba’s Arsenal future?

Romano reveals that Saliba is really close to leaving Arsenal and joining Marseille on loan this summer, although it’s not a done deal just yet.

Speaking on the Here We Go Podcast, Romano said, “William Saliba is really really close to joining Marseille. As of today it is not official or signed yet, they need to do something and it’s not a done deal yet.”

The Italian journalist confirmed that the 20-year-old’s proposed move away from Arsenal will be temporary without an option to buy.

He said, “He’s really close, it will be a loan without a buy option. So, there will be no buy option for William Saliba to Marseille from Arsenal.”

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How did Saliba perform on loan at Nice this season?

The French defender had a decent 2020/21 Ligue 1 campaign with Nice, where he made 20 starts for the side.

According to WhoScored, Saliba won 1.9 aerial duels per match in France’s top flight this term – the second most of anyone in Nice’s squad.

No Nice player made more clearances than the 20-year-old with an average of four each league game and he also made 1.3 interceptions per match.

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Who became Arsenal's record signing during the Unai Emery era?

Can Arsenal afford to let him go?

Arguably yes.

According to Sky Sports, Arsenal are set to table a third bid for Brighton defender Ben White after having two offers for the England international rejected.

White’s potential move to the Emirates would ultimately force Saliba down the pecking order at Arsenal. At just 20 years old the defender should be looking to get regular game time and another loan deal could be beneficial to allow him to continue learning his trade.

Should Saliba get another loan spell under his belt then he might develop further and gain enough experience to enter the fold at Arsenal in the 2022/23 campaign.

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