'They'd take it right now': Paul Merson says Arsenal would sell 21-year-old gem for just £27m
Paul Merson has delivered his verdict on William Saliba and his future at Arsenal once he returns from his loan spell at Marseille.
The young Frenchman has had a spectacular campaign under Jorge Sampaoli at the Stade Velodrome. He has played 50 games in all competitions at Marseille and is now a full France international as well.
Saliba is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in the world. His ability at the back, composure on the ball and intelligence as a defender is just incredible for someone who’s still only 21, but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta just hasn’t been convinced.
It has been almost three years now since Arsenal splashed £27 million to sign Saliba from Saint Etienne (Goal), but he’s yet to play a single competitive game for the Gunners. That has raised concerns about his future, and Merson believes Arteta will let him go if a club agrees to pay the North Londoners what they spent on the Frenchman back in 2019.
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Paul Merson: Arsenal will sell William Saliba if they get back their money
The Englishman wrote in his column on The Daily Star: “William Saliba is running out of time to prove himself at Arsenal and I think he could be sold this summer.
“There must be a reason he’s been loaned out three times by the club. Was he getting ripped in training? I don’t see why he’s still on loan otherwise. Arsenal paid a lot of money for him, but I think if anyone offers them their money back, they would take it right now.
“It’s almost three years he’s been there now and he can’t get a look-in. Maybe Mikel Arteta has watched him train and decided he’s nowhere near ready.
“How long can they keep waiting for Saliba? You hear that he’s doing well in France, but that league is nowhere near as competitive as the Premier League. If Arsenal don’t have confidence in him to perform over here, there’s no point bringing him back from Marseille just to loan him out again. They might as well sell.
Arsenal need to make a permanent decision on William Saliba’s future this summer.
The young French defender will enter the final two years of his contract in July, and if Arteta has no intention of keeping hold of him, the best option for both parties would be to go their separate ways.
However, Saliba has shown this season that he’s an extraordinary talent. He has all the qualities to become a top defender in a few years’ time, and Arsenal could end up regretting their decision if they let him go this summer.
The transfer window is just around the corner and it will be interesting to see what Arsenal will do. If we were in Arteta’s shoes, we’d extend the Frenchman’s contract and keep him at the club next season.
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