L’Equipe report that Arsenal have agreed to a purchase option for William Saliba in his loan agreement but it’s not clear if that’s true.
When it was first reported that Arsenal would allow William Saliba to join Marseille on loan for the season, it was claimed there was no option to buy in the arrangement, but Sunday’s edition of L’Equipe claims something quite different, although theirs is a tale they seem to have walked back from their print edition.
The leading French publication claimed that “The central defender has indeed agreed with the Marseille leaders on the outlines of a future contract. Tracked for weeks, the young player (20 years) should be loaned with option of purchase to OM. Discussions with Arsenal dragged on but the London club ended up agreeing to sell Saliba once again.” The ‘sell’ there is Google translate being a bit rubbish. I ran it past Sylvain Jamet who confirmed it was referencing a loan rather than a sale, which wouldn’t make any sense preceding the ‘once again’.
It seems that L’Equipe have edited their online version of this piece to remove reference to any agreement to sell, something English journalists have stressed is not part of the loan agreement.
Contrary to claims elsewhere, L’Équipe’s report does not include a suggestion on the size of the option to buy for William Saliba. The language in the print edition is also softer – more in the realms of “should include” an option to buy.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) July 3, 2021
Arsenal were insistent that Saliba, signed before Mikel Arteta arrived, would be given a chance in pre-season with Arsenal to show what he could do. Yet, here we are, shipping him out before pre-season has even started, so it’s not hard to think they’d be open to selling him if the right offer came along.
I understand the need for him to have a full pre-season with his loan side, but the fact the decision is being made at this point in the window demonstrates little willingness from Arsenal to even attempt to integrate the defender they paid £27m for in 2019.
Writing about Saliba’s loan to Marseille, David Ornstein said, “the 20-year-old [Saliba] had intended to compete for a place this time round but, with Arsenal attempting to sign Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Ben White, it was decided he should head out again.”
I said at the time his loan first hit the papers that, with no evidence at all, I expected Saliba to sign for Marseille on a permanent deal next summer.
This report from L’Equipe, softened or not, reinforces that view.