Record-breaking William Saliba Arsenal exit to worsen Edu reputation as pressure mounts on sale

March 7, 2022
Marseille want William Saliba to stay and Edu risks his fan image on the outcome of a summer decision.
Marseille want William Saliba to stay and Edu risks his fan image on the outcome of a summer decision.

William Saliba is a name that despite Arsenal fans never having seen play a minute of senior competitive football, is well-known amongst the supporters. Signed in 2019 under Unai Emery and Raul Sanllehi’s regime, he was thought of as one of the biggest talents for the centre-back role.

However, Mikel Arteta’s arrival created much uncertainty about Saliba’s situation, and he has been sent on loan twice since the Spaniard’s appointment. His current spell with Ligue 1 side Marseille has gained plaudits from all manner of pundits and Arsenal viewers. He has been one of the best in the French league.

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Arsenal fans have been left excited as to the prospect of Saliba’s return and finally seeing him in the red and white at the Emirates next season.

However, the Marseille president Pablo Longoria has given Arsenal fans a scare after a recent interview revealed the clear intentions of the French side to try and keep Saliba beyond his year-long loan deal.

“It’s a three-way question. For the club that owns the player, Arsenal, the player and Marseille,” Longoria told Le10Sport when speaking about the possibility of signing Saliba.

“We have to see our possibilities. He is very happy here, we are very satisfied with his performance.

“William is one of the best young defenders I have seen in my career. After all, everything depends on the three parties. It’s a matter of market value. But we have extraordinary relations with Arsenal.”

Marseille are facing the possibility of a transfer ban, although when it will come into full effect remains unclear after OM appealed the decision in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

With this in mind, Marseille will be desperate to sign up as much talent as possible before any possible sanction comes into effect.

Arsenal’s position on Saliba remains unclear despite Mikel Arteta’s continual claims that the Frenchman is their player. understands that it is the intention of Saliba to return and fight for his place. However, with the partnership of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes flourishing, there may be no clear route, at least not at first, into the first team.

This may affect what Saliba wishes, and he could decide to want to leave in search of regular senior football.

In this worst-case scenario, Arsenal must make sure that they take advantage of the situation. With Marseille under pressure to bring in players, technical director Edu must be in control of negotiations.

Arsenal must not make a loss on the £27 million it took to bring Saliba to the club as an 18-year-old. Especially considering his stock has only risen since then.

Marseille would be breaking their transfer record to sign Saliba for anything more than what the Gunners paid Saint-Etienne.

Edu’s reputation in sales is not convincing as of yet. Only Joe Willock and Emi Martinez have been sold for profit and plenty of players have had their contracts terminated. Often this has seen Arsenal continue to pay player wages after they have left such is the case with Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The recruitment has been good, but Edu needs to change the tide of how his ability in the sales department is viewed and making a loss on Saliba would threaten to put the Brazilian in an unrecoverable situation for many supporters.

The summer must-see upgrades to the squad, but not improving how the club moves on its surplus players could create future problems that were unavoidable.