Arsenal defender Guillaume Saliba are expected to join Nice on loan until the end of the season, Arsenal said on Monday.

Sources had told ESPN that the Ligue 1 club were unlikely to pay loan fees but would have to cover Saliba’s salary, worth around £ 40,000 a week.

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Nice will not have the opportunity to buy Saliba as Arsenal see the 19-year-old as an exciting prospect for the future, but manager Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff believe he needs time to regular play elsewhere to toughen it up for Premier League action.

“William Saliba is a player with a lot of talent and potential. We are convinced that he will have a good career with us, but we have to remember that he is still only 19 years old and he has a lot of time. behind him.” Edu, technical director of Arsenal said in a press release.

“William had a very difficult time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the untimely end of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.

“So together with William we decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop. We will keep in close contact with William during his time in Nice and we look forward to seeing him do so. good progress until the end of the season. “

In December, sources told ESPN that Nice were interested in a deal for Saliba after Arsenal questioned whether the defender was Premier League ready.

Saliba preferred a return to France although some club staff believe he would benefit from a stint in a league as fiercely competitive as the Championship.

The center-back is yet to make a senior appearance after his £ 27million transfer from Saint-Etienne in July 2019 when Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery was in charge.

Saliba was loaned to the Ligue 1 club for the 2019-20 campaign but returned to London last summer in anticipation of starting his career at Arsenal.

However, Saliba was not subsequently registered for either the Premier League or the Europa League this quarter, sources telling ESPN that Arteta and his team were concerned about his positioning and his tendency to dive into the squad. tackles.

A second loan at Saint-Etienne collapsed at the 11th hour in September due to a paperwork issue and he was subsequently linked with several championship clubs, but no deal was reached.

Saliba struggled to settle in England after a difficult year in which he suffered from off-court issues, but signed an Arsenal deal until 2024 and remains focused on his success at the club in the years to come up.

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