Fabrizio Romano reports that with a new deal for Bukayo Saka almost done, Arsenal are now set to prioritise a contract extension for William Saliba.
Negotiations are ongoing, and Romano claims Saliba wants to stay. But talks continue over almost every aspect of the new contract, including the salary and its structure, so the deal isn’t at the final stages yet.
Going into the season, Arsenal were faced with three major expiring contracts for Gabriel Martinelli, Saka, and Saliba.
Martinelli signed a new deal last month, which could run all the way to 2028 if Arsenal utilise their option to extend.
Saka has now agreed terms on a deal as well, also lasting until 2028 – if and when he signs it.
That just leaves Saliba, and the fact the centre-back wants to stick around is an encouraging sign for those talks eventually reaching a positive conclusion as well.
Saliba’s camp rejected Arsenal’s last contract offer, with a significant difference between the player’s demands and the Gunners’ proposal.
The Athletic recently reported that one of the reasons that Saliba’s contract remains unsigned is that Arsenal weren’t offering a wage that his representatives feel is fair considering the length of time they want him to time him down for.
But all sides remain willing to agree on an extension, and Arsenal are confident they’ll find that agreement.
The centre-back’s current contract expires in 2024, after Arsenal recently took up their option to extend it.
Saliba started his youth career at AS Bondy Youth and later moved to Montfermeil before joining the youth academy of AS Saint-Etienne in 2016.
Saliba made his professional debut for Saint-Etienne in September 2018 and quickly became a key player for the team. He was named the club’s Player of the Month in his second month with the senior team, and his performances caught the attention of several top European clubs, including Arsenal.
In July 2019, Arsenal signed Saliba on a long-term contract for a reported fee of €30 million, making him the most expensive teenage defender in football history at the time. However, he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season to continue his development.
Saliba returned to Arsenal in the summer of 2020 but struggled to establish himself in the first team under manager Mikel Arteta. He was not registered for the Premier League or Europa League squads and was instead sent on loan to Nice in January 2021 for the remainder of the season.
After his successful loan spell with Nice, Saliba returned to Arsenal for pre-season training ahead of the 2021-22 season. However, it became apparent that he was not going to be a part of Arsenal’s plans for the upcoming season, and the club decided to loan him out again.
In July 2021, Saliba joined Marseille on a season-long loan deal. The move was seen as a good opportunity for the young defender to continue his development, gain more playing time, and experience playing in a top league.
After joining Marseille, Saliba quickly became a regular in the team’s defence and impressed with his performances, finally earning him a chance at Arsenal when he returned.