This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Nice manager Patrick Vieira is interested in signing Arsenal defender William Saliba in the January transfer window, according to reports from But! Football club.
Saliba is a highly valued young defender, but he’s not in Mikel Arteta’s first team plans at the moment.
The curious case of Saliba
The Gunners signed Saliba for a reported fee of £ 27 million in 2019 of the French team Saint-Etienne and allowed him to stay the rest of the season on loan to gain experience.
However, the early end of the Ligue 1 season meant the loan did not work out well and he returned to Arsenal.
Fans were excited to see him return. It was supposed to be his big season, but he has yet to appear at the club. Arteta has excluded him from the Europa League squad, but he is eligible to play in the Premier League.
The Gunners boss feels he can’t offer him the playing time he needs because this is his ‘transition year’, and he wants him on loan.
This is what Arteta has said about Saliba, quoted by The Mirror:
“I am fed up with the situation because, as you can see, we have tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football.
“I explained that I needed that transitional year when we decided to buy it and ship it on loan to Saint-Etienne. For many reasons, that did not happen and he did not have that year of transition.
“He has to go through that and for now, with the number of centers we have in the team, we had to leave him out of the squad, which is painful.”
Next step for Saliba?
Saint-Etienne, his old club, want to sign him on loan for the rest of the season.
Saliba also prefers to return to the French team where he knows the club well. However, French rivals Nice, led by Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, are also eager to secure his signature.
Nice are looking to bolster their defense in January with Dante’s prolonged absence due to injury, and have designated Saliba as an option.
Who else could leave the club?
According to reports from Football London, Shkodran Mustafi wants to leave at the end of the season.
The German international will be a free agent next summer, but he is unlikely to leave the club in January. It has aroused the interest of clubs in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Greek defender Sokratis, who was about to leave the club on the deadline, could retire in January. Another defender, Sead Kolasinac, who was unable to secure his move to Bayer Leverkusen on the deadline, could also consider leaving the club.