As reported by RMC, Marseille are now expected to pursue a permanent transfer for Arsenal defender William Saliba after the 21-year-old France international’s successful loan spell with OM this season.
The outlet report that Marseille are willing to commit €25m to €30m to sign the centre-back who became Jorge Sampaoli’s defensive leader in the second half of the season as OM finished second in Ligue 1 on a dramatic final day, qualifying directly for next season’s Champions League group stages.
A fee like €30m would be a huge sum for OM to spend on a single player but have been buoyed by the DNCG, French football’s strict financial watchdog, ratifying their budget for next season and removing previous restrictions on spending. The Ligue 1 club are prepared to pay such an amount given that Saliba is a safe bet after his form this season, that he’s fully integrated into the squad and that, at 21, he carries significant future resale value.
Arsenal, however, who had tentatively been planning to integrate the player into their first-team squad for next season, are reportedly not so far interested in selling the defender. Saliba, meanwhile, is prioritising taking a place in France’s November World Cup squad, and knows that his form and game time at the start of next season will be key to that goal.
Sampaoli, meanwhile, has reportedly become frustrated with the club’s lack of ambition this window, after key players like Saliba left at the end of the campaign and considering president Pablo Longoria’s inability to secure any major targets so far this summer.