Arsenal to defy fans over William Saliba and hold Marseille transfer talks

Arsenal will risk the wrath of their supporters by allowing William Saliba to hold transfer talks with Marseille, according to reports.

The French centre-half signed for the Gunners from Saint Etienne for £27million in 2019 but is yet to kick a ball in anger for them.

Following his arrival at the Emirates, he was instantly loaned back to his former club before spending time with Nice last season.

At the start of the current campaign, Saliba embarked on a third spell away from north London, this time with Marseille – where he has proved a huge hit.

The 20-year-old star has played in all but one match for Jorge Sampaoli's side and has helped them rise to fourth in the Ligue 1 table.

His performances have allowed his side to keep six clean sheets in 13 league matches, giving them one of the best defensive records in the French top-flight.

Saliba has been receiving widespread praise for his displays across the Channel, and according to transfer journalist Ekrem Konur on Twitter, Marseille are keen to secure his services on a permanent basis.

He tweeted: "Olympique de Marseille want to keep William Saliba in the team permanently. Talks with Arsenal will begin soon."

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That news is sure to infuriate Arsenal fans, some of whom have posted on Twitter in the past asking Mikel Arteta to give Saliba a chance.

One person wrote: "You can support arteta , it’s your decision , but not giving saliba a chance is suspicious, not giving guendouzi another chance is criminal."

Another previously tweeted: "Arteta persisting with such s*** at the back, and not giving Saliba a chance must be one of footballs biggest conundrums."

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While someone else added: "For Context: It took Wenger 10 years to get rid of the last of George Graham/ Bruce Rioch’s players. Why is Arteta and his ego so keen to clear the decks after 18 months even if it means losing potential world class talents like Martinelli and Saliba?"

It is unclear at this stage whether Arsenal would be open to allowing Saliba to leave the club.

If he is allowed to leave, it is unlikely the Gunners will be able to fully recoup the £27million they paid for him in 2019.

It's understood Arteta and Saliba have not always had the best relationship with reports last month citing a lack of communication.

However, the Frenchman is said to have not given up hope of making a mark at the Emirates, while transfer guru Edu reportedly sees him as a vital part of the club's future.

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