Arsenal supporters could be in line for some encouraging news regarding William Saliba’s future.
On the back of a standout season in France with Marseille, the 21-year-old has made an equally impressive start to life in England, establishing a strong defensive partnership alongside Gabriel Magalhaes and has already weighed in with two goals – including a stunner against Bournemouth.
Widely praised for his performance in the North London Derby win over Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, Arsenal have further incentive to secure Saliba’s long-term future by agreeing terms on a new contract as the counter-argument is the club risk losing him for a cut-price fee next summer – or worst yet for free in 2024.
Even with this development, there is still a lot of work for Arsenal to do in order to avoid finding themselves in an all-too-familiar position come next summer as Saliba could only have 12 months remaining on his contract, which according to the club’s former head of football Raul Sanllehi, is hardly the ideal position to be in.
“At the end of the day, the real essence of the problem was that we had reached the last year of the contract,” Sanllehi told Arsenal’s official YouTube channel in May 2019 when discussing Ramsey’s move to Juventus.
“One of our priorities is not to get to the last year of contract and this (Ramsey’s situation) is the reason why. The only way to get to the end of contract is when you’re ready to release that player at the end.
“If you really want to keep that player you need to renew him before getting to the last year of contract because you’re putting yourself in a very weak position – we cannot get to the last year of the contract and if we cannot get a renewal before that, then we may have to sell.”
Of course, Arsenal fans will be hopeful of an announcement regarding Saliba signing a new long-term contract very soon. In fact, there was a theory during the summer transfer window that one was imminent as the defender’s agent Niang Djibril posted a rather cryptic message on Instagram.