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Written by Martin Graham | 7 June 2022
The latest reports from Etlai claimed that Napoli are inquiring about the possibility of taking William Saliba from Arsenal.
The 21-year-old defender has been unable to find a place in the Emirates since moving to the Premier League side from French side Saint-Etienne in 2019. He spent most of that time on loan in France, where he played for his old club OGC Nice and, most recently, Olympique Marseille.
He shone at the Orange Velodrome and caught the world’s eye again, just as he did when he was 18 at Saint-Etienne all those years ago. This also earned him his first call-up to the France national team, where he is currently in the UEFA Nations League.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who was adamant about sending the defender out on loan, has now claimed to justify his actions after his performances last year. The Spanish tactic also stated that Saliba will be part of the team’s pre-season with the aim of integrating him into the squad before the new season.
Saliba, who previously expressed his desire to stay in the Orange Velodrome with Marseille, also decided to fight for his place at Arsenal after his manager’s statement. All of that could change because Napoli is now in the mix.
Partenopei let the Scudetto title slip out of their grasp in the just-concluded Seri A season after spending two different stints as number one at the table. A new defense is at the fore in the summer transfer agenda with the imminent departure of centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. However, if they can keep the Senegal international, they are looking to pair him with another serious defender.
This report is according to the Italian journalist Gianluigi Longari, who wrote on Twitter that Naples made an exploratory step for Saliba. The Serie A club have contacted Arsenal to see if a deal could be struck this summer, but it is unclear if they want him on loan or in the summer transfer window.
Saliba won’t come cheap for the Bartnoby family, with his value currently estimated at €30m. The club will have to penalize a few exits to get any potential deal across the line.
Some of the potential transfers outside the club are Fabian Ruiz, Piotr Zielinski and Koulibaly, who are still hoping to keep them and possibly a duo with Saliba for a stronger defence.
Napoli could also face competition from Marseille in pursuit of Saliba’s signature as the French club are interested in a permanent deal for the 21-year-old defender. If Saliba were to leave Emirates again, the board would certainly prefer a move over a loan, and so would the player.
This means that Napoli will have to work towards a transfer if they intend to bring Saliba to Diego Armando Maradona’s stadium in the summer.