William Saliba: Arsenal defender to join Nice on loan until the end of the season
Arsenal defender William Saliba is set to join Nice on loan until the end of the season.
The Ligue 1 club will not have an option to make the move permanent as the Gunners see the 19-year-old as a part of their long-term plans.
Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne for around £27m in July 2019 but remained on loan at the French side for the 2019/20 season.
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He was set to return to Saint-Etienne for the current campaign in October but a deal failed to materialise, with the French side accusing Arsenal of reneging on an agreement on Deadline Day.
Saliba stayed with the Gunners, but he is yet to make his first appearance for the club and was left out of their squad for the Europa League group stages.
Arsenal hope Saliba’s return to France will provide him with some valuable experience before competing for a first-team place next season.
In November, Arteta said of Saliba: “I’m fed up with the situation because, as you could see, we tried to find a way in the last few days to give him some football.
“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne. For many reasons, that didn’t happen – he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.
“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders we have in the team, we had to leave him out of the squad, which is painful. Now we have some injuries and we could have used him but this is part of the profession.”
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