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Reports: Arsenal might have to sell William Saliba - or risk losing the £30m wonderkid for far less than his value

William Saliba
(Image credit: Getty)

Arsenal wonderkid William Saliba could end up leaving the club in the summer - with the Gunners staring down the possibility of his value significantly depreciating. 

Saliba has been on loan three seasons in a row in his native France. The now-20-year-old joined from Saint-Etienne in 2019 while Unai Emery was manager and was immediately loaned back to his hometown club to develop further, following a £30m capture.

Mikel Arteta integrated the defender into his squad and gave him the no.4 shirt the following season - only to complete a u-turn on the youngster. Saliba had personal issues, with his mother suddenly passing away at the start of the season and so Arsenal wanted to send him on loan to an English side. Saliba, however, reportedly favoured a move back to France - though the Gunners dithered and he only left in January 2021 on loan again to Nice. 

The centre-back made it a hat-trick of spells away from the Emirates Stadium when he joined Marseille at the start of the season. Arteta shortly signed the £50m Ben White as a marquee figure in defence and gave him Saliba's no.4 shirt - prompting questions from fans about Saliba's future.

The Frenchman is highly-rated but Arteta's reluctance to play him has put his future into doubt, with some asking whether Saliba will want to come back and play for the Spaniard next summer. 

Now, Marseille are interested in stepping in - permanently. 

Saliba has impressed this season in a back three under Jorge Sampaoli, functioning both at centre-back and more recently as a right-wing-back. The southern French outfit also have Matteo Guendouzi on loan from the Gunners and are expected to sign the fiery midfielder, should he trigger a clause of games played in his deal. 

Marseille would also like to sign Saliba though and Arsenal may have little other choice but to sell - despite reports that Arteta is closely monitoring his prospect ahead of integrating him next season. Arsenal may choose to next season give Saliba the no.2 shirt that he's worn for Marseille - previously worn by Hector Bellerin - and use him as competition to both White in central defence and Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back. 

But Saliba's contract may prove to be an issue. The starlet's Arsenal deal runs out in 2024; if Arsenal hold onto him next summer and keep him around for a season, they could be held hostage to having no choice but to sell him in 2023 for a reduced price. 

With Saliba said to have been unhappy about some of his treatment since joining the  Gunners, it remains to be seen as to whether he'd want to sign an extension.

Arsenal will want to recoup their £30m on Saliba, should they be forced to sell.