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Arsenal plan to keep William Saliba next season

Arsenal consider William Saliba as ‘an important player’ and want him to be part of the squad next season, reputed journalist Fabrizio Romano reports.

The Frenchman has yet to make his competitive debut for the Gunners. He has spent the past three seasons on loan with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille in the French Ligue 1.

Saliba has opened the prospect of playing Champions League football with Marseille next term, but that may be unlikely with the Gunners having different plans in mind.

Both manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar regard him as an ‘important player’ and plan to integrate him into the first-team squad ahead of next season.

Talks are expected soon over a new contract, and it remains to be seen whether the 21-year-old is willing to extend his Gunners deal which expires in the summer of 2024.

Arsenal have big decision to make over Saliba

Arteta largely relied on Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes as the central defensive options last season with Rob Holding being the regular back-up off the bench.

Luckily, there were no major injury concerns, but Arteta will be aware of the need for more quality and depth as the club return to European football next season.

There is bound to be rotation with the added workload. Saliba could be a regular starter in the Europa League next term if he can impress with his performances.

The Frenchman has already shown that he is excellent with his distribution with over 93 per cent of his passes completed last term, but has room for improvement.

He has been static with his positioning at times. This seemed a point of weakness during his loan at Marseille, though he was voted as Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year.

Arteta obviously has big plans for Saliba in future, but the club’s hierarchy could still contemplate his sale, suppose the defender has no desire to prolong his stay.

Having made a huge outlay of £27 million to sign him from Saint-Etienne in 2019, the last thing the club would want is to lose him for a knockdown price in 12 months’ time.

Saliba has come off a very productive season with 51 appearances. His value should be at the highest. Arsenal may look to recoup the fee spent if there is a contract stand-off.

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