Atletico Madrid have reportedly enquired about William Saliba, who will return to Arsenal in the summer from his loan spell at Marseille.

According to L’Equipe, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid are interested in William Saliba and could look to approach him in the summer when he returns to Arsenal. The French international has been sensational during his loan spell at Marseille as he enters a crucial phase in his career.

Many Arsenal fans remain puzzled over Mikel Arteta’s handling of William Saliba. The Spanish manager decided to spend £50 million on Ben White in the summer while letting a promising prospect like Saliba leave the club on loan.

The decision was praised by some, as Saliba continues to perform well at Marseille, becoming an important part of Jorge Sampaoli’s defensive unit. Be it a back-three or back-four, the young defender has found a place in the starting lineup, making 45 appearances across all competitions.

Marseille have been exploring the possibility to keep Saliba beyond his loan spell, but Arsenal are unwilling to sell him, despite interest from some big clubs. There seems to be a plan for the Frenchman under Arteta, who continues to count on the 21-year-old.

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On the other hand, Saliba’s recent comments indicated he will be looking at regular game time wherever he may be playing next season. His rise within the Marseille setup while being called up to the French national squad in the most recent international break has given him more confidence. Saliba also remains open to remaining at the French club beyond the current season.

At Arsenal, White and Gabriel Magalhaes are the first-choice centre-backs, although the possibility of the north Londoners playing in Europe will allow Saliba the opportunity to play regularly. The Gunners are already planning to hand him a new deal when he returns in the summer.

However, with two years left on his contract, it is a period when the player can explore other opportunities, with Arsenal having limited powers to keep hold of his services. It will be a testing summer for Arsenal in their resolve to retain Saliba as some big clubs continue to circle.

Atletico Madrid are the latest club to express an interest, as Diego Simeone explores signing Saliba in the summer transfer window to shore up his backline. The reigning La Liga champions have very little left to play for this season, and they are already planning moves for the next campaign.

They would like to mount a challenge for La Liga and the UEFA Champions League next term and are looking at essential players who could shore up their squad for the long-term. Saliba is understood to be one such player, and hence Atletico Madrid could approach Arsenal over a potential move.

What Arsenal do with the defender will play a crucial role in determining his future. Whether Saliba agrees to sign a new deal or not, remains a question for the summer, which could open the floodgates for interested clubs, like Atletico Madrid, to swoop in and explore signing the 21-year-old in the summer.

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