By G9ija

Arsenal are reportedly set to hold talks with Marseille as the French club are desperate to sign William Saliba on a permanent basis. The centre-back is currently on loan at the Ligue 1 side.

Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne for £27million in 2019 but is yet to appear for the first team.

Following his arrival in north London, he was instantly loaned back to the club he had just signed from before enjoying a spell with Nice last season.

At the start of this term, the 20-year-old embarked on a third temporary spell in his home country – and he has been in imperious form.

Saliba has been instrumental for Marseille at the heart of their backline this season and has missed just one match in all competitions.

His displays have helped his team keep six clean sheets in their 13 league games and they have climbed to fourth in the Ligue 1 table.

Meanwhile, Marseille have recorded two shutouts in the Europa League, with the side drawing their first four games in the competition.

Saliba has been receiving rave reviews for his performances in France and, according to transfer journalist Ekrem Konur on Twitter, Marseille want to keep the defender in their team permanently.

It is unknown at this stage whether Arsenal would be open to losing the player.

They spent big money to sign him but, under Mikel Arteta, he has never been deemed ready to perform in the Premier League.

Saliba may have grown frustrated with Arteta for his refusal to give him a chance and could now push to stay at a club at which he clearly feels valued.

It’s understood Arteta and Salbia did not have the best of relationships with reports last month citing a lack of communication. However, the player is said to have not given up hope of playing for Arsenal while the club’s transfer chief Edu sees him as a vital part of their future.

Arsenal, meanwhile, finally appear to have sorted their leaky defence out, with Ben White and Gabriel forming a solid partnership in the backline.

It may therefore suit both parties if Saliba were to remain in France. The Gunners will surely get significantly more than they paid for him and there would be no danger his return would upset the apple cart.

But Arsenal may decide to veto any potential deal, with sporting director Edu clearly thinking a lot of the player.

“William is a player with strong natural ability and next season has the potential to be really beneficial for him at Marseille, a good club,” Edu told Arsenal.com ahead of his loan move.

“To play another season in Ligue 1 will be very important for his development.

“We will of course be keeping in close contact with William during the season and wish him all the best in France with Marseille.”