Arsenal FC

Arsenal & William Saliba 'both open' to permanent departure

Tom Gott
Jan 2, 2021, 10:45 AM GMT
William Saliba could leave Arsenal permanently
William Saliba could leave Arsenal permanently / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images
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Arsenal are believed to have agreed with centre-back William Saliba to listen to both loan and permanent bids for the Frenchman in January.

With the January transfer window now open, Saliba is expected to leave Arsenal in some capacity. The 19-year-old has failed to make a single matchday squad in the Premier League this year and was left out of the club's 25-man Europa League squad as well.

Saliba is yet to play for Arsenal's senior side
Saliba is yet to play for Arsenal's senior side / James Chance/Getty Images

There is expected to be plenty of interest in a loan deal for the 19-year-old, who cost Arsenal £27m in 2019, but L'Equipe (via GFFN) claim that a meeting with Mikel Arteta has left both parties open to the idea of a permanent exit as well.

Rumours of a return to Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne have long dominated headlines, while links to other Premier League clubs have also been rife, and now it seems as though Arsenal are prepared to consider whatever bids come their way.

It's the latest twist in what has been an utterly bizarre saga.

Saliba was touted as the long-term solution to Arsenal's problems at centre-back when he actually joined the club during the summer, but things have not worked out like that.

Instead, Saliba has been completely exiled from the starting lineup, but Arteta has insisted that the door to the team remains open for the Frenchman.

“To be fair, he's made massive improvements in the last few months and it's been a really tricky situation for him," Arteta said (via Goal) in December. "As I mentioned before, designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.

“Now we've made some steps forwards, he's working really hard and played for the under-21s again."

Arteta has called for patience
Arteta has called for patience / Pool/Getty Images

Unfortunately for Saliba, Arsenal's recent winning run will almost certainly leave Arteta unwilling to alter his defence just yet. Rob Holding and Pablo Mari have helped the Gunners to victories over Chelsea and Brighton, and the pair have earned extended runs in the starting lineup as a result.

Brazilian David Luiz is also expected to return from illness ahead of Saturday's meeting with West Brom, which will only push Saliba further down the pecking order.

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