William Saliba undergoing medical ahead of joining Nice on loan

Tom Gott
Jan 4, 2021, 9:22 AM GMT
William Saliba is set to leave Arsenal
William Saliba is set to leave Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images
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Arsenal centre-back William Saliba is close to sealing a loan move to Ligue 1 side Nice for the rest of the season.

A £27m signing in 2019, Saliba moved to Arsenal during the summer but is yet to play a single minute for Mikel Arteta's senior side, and he was surprisingly omitted from the Gunners' squad for the Europa League as well.

Saliba has been stuck in the reserves
Saliba has been stuck in the reserves | James Chance/Getty Images

A January exit always seemed likely, with some rumours even suggesting Saliba could be sold permanently, but Nice Matin claim Saliba will only be joining Nice temporarily for the remainder of the campaign.

Importantly, there is no option to buy the 19-year-old, who will undergo his medical on Monday ahead of putting pen to paper on the move.

Nice are looking for a replacement for former Bayern Munich defender Dante, who is expected to miss the rest of the campaign with an ACL injury, so Saliba can expect plenty of game time at the Allianz Riviera.

Adrian Ursea's side are never scared of giving minutes to young players. 21-year-old Malang Sarr was a regular before joining Chelsea in the summer, while 23-year-old Robson Bambu was the oldest of Nice's three centre-backs in their latest match against Lorient.

It's a move which will hopefully help Saliba rediscover his mojo. He knows the league well, having made 28 appearances for Saint-Etienne before joining Arsenal, and will be desperate to prove he is good enough for a top team.

Saliba is heading back to France
Saliba is heading back to France | NICOLAS TUCAT/Getty Images

The teenager never managed to convince Arteta that he was ready for minutes and he never came close to contention, despite Arsenal failing to impress defensively for the vast majority of the season so far.

Saliba might not be the only centre-back on his way out of the Emirates this month. Both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have been linked with moves away from the club, with Arteta keen to cut down the numbers in his squad.

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