Mikel Arteta makes huge decision over William Saliba’s Arsenal future after Ben White bid

The centre-back enjoyed a strong loan spell with Nice last season (Picture: Getty)

William Saliba does not feature in Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans for Arsenal and the north Londoners are hoping to cash in on the centre-back, according to reports.

The highly rated Frenchman signed for the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in 2019 but was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 club, delivering a number of very promising displays in his season back in France.

Last summer’s pre-season was supposed to provide a chance for Saliba to impress Arteta, but he struggled to do so and was left out of Arsenal’s squads for the Premier League and Europa League.

Saliba impressed at Nice but Arsenal are keen to offload him (Picture: Getty)

A deadline-day loan back to Saint-Etienne also fell through and, after months without playing a competitive game, he was finally handed an escape when he joined Nice on loan in January.

But despite once again impressing in Ligue 1, French newspaper L’Equipe report that Arsenal are actively looking to offload Saliba.

Gunners fans have been clamouring to see more of the 20-year-old next season – particularly with David Luiz having left the club – but Arteta has a very different opinion of the defender.

Arsenal have received enquiries from the likes of Marseille to loan Saliba for yet another season, but the Gunners have told suitors that they want to sell the centre-back this summer.

The north Londoners are looking to raise funds for a summer splurge and Arteta wants to spend big on a new centre-back, having had a £40million bid for Ben White rejected by Brighton this week.

White has emerged as Arsenal’s top centre-back target (Picture: Getty)

It is an almost identical situation with Matteo Guendouzi, who is also wanted by Marseille and spent last season on loan at Hertha Berlin after falling out with Arteta, but against Arsenal have made it clear they would prefer to sell and will only loan as a last resort.

Saliba’s preference is to remain with Nice, where he enjoyed his time last season, though could be tempted by the prospect of Europa League football with Marseille.

Arteta promised an ‘unprecedented’ transfer window this summer as Arsenal look to clear out all their deadwood and bring in a host of new signings, with defender White, midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga and a new goalkeeper all on their wish list.

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