William Saliba’s agent has confirmed he held talks with Edu on Monday and the player is happy back at Arsenal, though his situation isn’t finalised yet.
On Monday, William Saliba’s agent was spotted at London Colney, amid rumours of talks over a contract extension.
The agent has now confirmed he was speaking to Edu over Saliba, adding that the player is happy at Arsenal, without confirming any extension yet.
“He has come back to Arsenal and is very happy,” Saliba’s agent said. “He is on pre-season with Arsenal and when they return let’s see what happens.
“On Monday I talked with Edu, things were positive.”
This obviously doesn’t entirely rule anything out. Saliba’s camp are clearly waiting to see how pre-season goes before finalising anything.
The Independent report that Saliba wants to leave Arsenal if he’s not guaranteed starts this season, amid interest from Atletico Madrid and Marseille.
Whilst I wouldn’t entirely trust the Independent not to exaggerate to stir up Arsenal fans, it also does seem likely Saliba would want to be at a club where he can play every week ahead of the World Cup this winter.
Ideally, Saliba will impress in pre-season, earn a starting role, extend his contract, and everything else becomes a non-issue.
But Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White are in the same situation, on the fringes of their national teams and looking to impress as much as possible ahead of the World Cup. They aren’t going to give up their places without a fight.
So a much more likely outcome is that Saliba ends up fighting with the other two for starts, and delays on an extension while his situation is unclear.
The good news is that the centre-back is still contracted for two more years. If Arsenal want to keep him at all costs, they can simply refuse to sell, and you wouldn’t imagine Marseille or Atletico are going to make particularly tempting bids anyway.
You just don’t want to be keeping players against their will, if possible. Convincing Saliba that he has a key role to play at Arsenal would be the best thing for everyone.