Skip to main content

Zidane wants Arsenal's William Saliba for his Real Madrid defence - report

William Saliba

He may not yet have played a game for Arsenal, but William Saliba is already being targeted by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. 

The young French defender was one of Unai Emery's marquee signings in the summer, costing £27m, but with the caveat that he would be loaned back to AS Saint Etienne for the 2019-20 season to continue his development.

His performances in Ligue 1 have seen his reputation grow, and according to the Express Zidane has added him to a potential list of Real Madrid targets as he aims to recruit a replacement for Raphael Varane. 

The other two defensive names on Zidane's wishlist are Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Marseille's Boubacar Kamara.

As for Saliba's current manager, former Leicester and Southampton boss Claude Puel, he recently spoke out against the Arsenal transfer:

"Is this model viable? I don’t think it can make the club a success. Rather than buying a ready-made player, I’d rather we buy him to develop him and help him grow.

"It’s hard to accept that we sell our best player, a young kid, to help fill the squad.

"When you have to sell your gems to round up the budget and then do short term deals to fill in the gaps, you’re being reactionary."

However, Arsenal clearly aren't thinking short-term when it comes to Saliba, and will be keen to ward off any interest from the Bernabeu. 

In fact, despite him not being able to make an appearance for the Gunners this season, they have still registered him as an official squad member so that he may qualify as a home-grown player one season sooner than expected. 

The question is, will the man who signed him ever get the chance to watch him play in an Arsenal shirt?

Now read...

NEWS Tottenham will rally round 'broken' Son Heung-Min

QUIZ How many of the 155 Premier League managers during Arsene Wenger's Arsenal reign can you name?

ANALYSIS Six of the biggest jobs in Europe could be up for grabs - will Jose Mourinho be on the shortlist for any of them?