Arsenal have entered early contract negotiations with centre back William Saliba in order to cement the Frenchman’s stay at the club.
After signing for £27 million in 2019, the 21-year-old spent the following three years on loan in Ligue 1. However, since making his debut for the Gunners this year, Saliba has become an integral role in Mikel Arteta’s back four, helping his side to the top of the Premier League table.
And now, as reported in The Athletic, Arsenal are looking to reward Saliba for his efforts – offering a new contract in a bid to keep him at the club beyond 2023, when his current deal could expire.
Saliba has been integral to Arsenal’s tight defensive record this season: he and Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes have formed a formidable centre back pairing and, following their 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at the weekend, Arsenal have now recorded eight clean sheets in 17 games this term.
Form like this has attracted the attention of several European top clubs, and with just two league games to go before the World Cup in Qatar, Saliba has now broken into the France national side – winning seven international caps.
With the prospect of Saliba playing with the eyes of the world watching him in Qatar it is no surprise Arsenal are keen to have contract proceedings wrapped up as soon as possible.
Saliba has commented on his contract situation in the past, when he recently claimed there had been a ‘little bit’ of discussion between Arsenal and his representatives.
And he is not the only one. In a bid to secure sustained success at the club, technical director Edu Gaspar has also offered a long-term contract to Saliba’s defensive partner Gabriel, which will see the Brazilian stay in North London until 2027.
Arsenal’s strong start to the season has placed them as genuine title contenders for the first time since Arsene Wenger left The Emirates in 2018.
Under Mikel Arteta they are playing with renewed energy and confidence, seeming to be the only team in the Premier League with the potential to challenge Manchester City for the title.
It is hard to say whether the World Cup in Qatar is coming at a good time for Arsenal, who will see many key players – including Saliba – go to the tournament. Meanwhile City striker Erling Haaland will not feature, protecting him from the possibility of injury.
However, with the tournament starting in just three weeks, it will be a balm to know they are one step closer to securing the long-term future of arguably the Premier League’s best defenders at the club.
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