Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has suggested that the club could offer a new contract to William Saliba in order to deter interest from La Liga giants Barcelona.
The French defender, who joined Arsenal from St. Etienne in July 2019, has returned from a season-long loan at Ligue 1 club Marseille.
According to Gerard Romero (via the Daily Mail), Barcelona has identified Saliba as a potential replacement for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and may make a move for him this summer.
Chelsea, on the other hand, is thought to be leading the race for the Sevilla player.
Apart from pre-season friendlies, Saliba has yet to play for the Gunners’ first team, but Arteta hinted that he may have a plan for the Frenchman.
When asked if Saliba would be offered a new contract, the former Manchester City assistant coach said (as reported by the Express):
“We always have a plan, and when we have to execute it, that’s a different story, and football is a really funny game. We are really happy to have him, and you can see the way he’s adapted, the way he’s matured and he’s playing well.”
The 21-year-old featured in 52 games for Marseille last season, impressing with his commendable defensive acumen.
Barcelona and Arsenal appear to be in for productive seasons. Arsenal and Barcelona both had disappointing seasons last season, going trophyless.
They are eager to change that next season, as evidenced by the signings made by both clubs.
The Gunners have strengthened their squad with the additions of Gabriel Jesus, Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira, and Matt Turner, allowing them to fight on all fronts next season.
Meanwhile, the Blaugrana have brought in Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, and Ousmane Dembele. Barcelona is also looking to strengthen their defense ahead of the new season.
Both the Gunners and the Blaugrana have excellent managers in Mikel Arteta and Xavi. While they lack experience, their appealing style of play more than compensates.
It will be difficult to accommodate so many new players, but fans of both clubs have plenty of reasons to look forward to the new season.