Arsenal are reportedly ready to open talks with William Saliba over a new contract in the summer, as the defender enters the final two years of his deal.

According to 90 min, Arsenal are set to discuss a new deal with William Saliba in the summer, when the defender enters the final two years of his current contract. The 20-year-old Frenchman is on loan at Marseille, becoming a key player for the Ligue 1 outfit.

Mikel Arteta and Edu got plenty of stick last summer for their decision to send William Saliba out on loan again. The defender cost a reported £27 million back in 2019 and has yet to play a competitive game for the Gunners, with fans demanding the manager include him in the squad for the current season.

The criticism increased as Arsenal spent £50 million on Ben White, casting doubts over Saliba’s long-term future. Some suggested Arteta mismanaged the 20-year-old defender. The Spanish manager has since been proven right for his decision to send the defender on loan.

Earlier in the season, when asked about the decision to loan out Saliba, Arteta had said, “He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us. Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision.”

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“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan. But a lot of things have happened to him, he’s a long-term player for us, and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.”

Arteta and Edu’s decision has proven fruitful for Saliba’s development, as the defender has been a key figure for Marseille this term. The 20-year-old Frenchman has made 38 appearances in all competitions and is their undisputed starter at the back. And while the defender has seen a dip in form in recent weeks, it is understandable for a player his age.

Arsenal have been clear about their plans for Saliba, as Arteta is prepared to integrate him into the first team next season. Plenty of clubs are already enquired about the Frenchman with the view of making a summer move. West Ham United are interested in Saliba, while Real Madrid are keeping tabs on the 20-year-old’s progress.

Arsenal are unwilling to sell the defender despite the widespread interest and are now planning on handing him a new contract when he returns to London Colney in the summer. Saliba will enter the final two years of his current deal, and the Gunners want to secure their assets without letting the contract situation drag out.

The north Londoners signalled their intention back in November when Marseille explored the idea of signing him permanently. However, Arteta has a clear plan for the future as Saliba could become Arsenal’s third choice centre-back behind Ben White and Gabriel.

Saliba is expected to extend his deal after reiterating claims to pursue a career in the Premier League. The 20-year-old defender could become a solid player under Arteta as fans look forward to seeing the French prodigy in the first team, playing at the Emirates.

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