Three clubs had William Saliba as a serious candidate on their transfer shortlist this summer, but Arsenal insisted he was untouchable.

PARIS, FRANCE: William Saliba of France runs with the ball during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 1 match between France and Austria on September 22, 2022. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE: William Saliba of France runs with the ball during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 1 match between France and Austria on September 22, 2022. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Fabrizio Romano reports that William Saliba was under consideration by Marseille, AC Milan, and Barcelona over the summer, but none of the three got very far with Arsenal.

Following his strong loan spell to Marseille last season, the Ligue 1 club reportedly wanted to make a serious bid to sign the defender permanently in August. But Arsenal insisted he was not for sale, regardless of the price.

AC Milan and Barcelona were also on the hunt for centre-backs, and both had Saliba on their shortlists. But once Arsenal’s stance became clear, neither bothered to firm up their interest with a pointless bid.

Milan instead focused on Sven Botman, who they lost to Newcastle United, whilst Barcelona focused on Jules Kounde, who did end up joining the La Liga side.

Romano insists that Saliba was delighted with Arsenal’s position on the potential sale, as he loves the club and evidently wanted an opportunity to impress – which he has.

Arsenal's French defender William Saliba (C) celebrates after scoring his team third goal during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s French defender William Saliba (C) celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Gunners now want to tie the defender down for the long term, with the Evening Standard reporting that Arsenal have held preliminary talks over a contract extension.

On the subject of a new deal, the outlet quote Saliba as saying: “Yeah, we will see. They [Arsenal and my agent] talk a little bit.

“[When I spoke with Arteta in the summer], he talked about my last season and he explained the project for this season.

“You have to wait every time and I wait a long time for my first north London derby. I enjoyed it since the first minute to the end, and now I am so happy.”

But David Ornstein recently reported that though Arsenal will be keen to extend Saliba’s contract, the player is in no hurry. He wants to see if this will continue to be a consistent run in the team.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.