Atletico Madrid have reportedly made an enquiry to Arsenal to sign out-on-loan defender William Saliba, who is shining on loan at Marseille. But could the Gunners use it to their advantage, helping an incoming of their own?
Saliba, 21, has clocked up 45 appearances in all competitions for Marseille this season – helping Jorge Sampaoli’s side sit in a lofty second place behind PSG in Ligue 1 and reaching the Europa Conference League semi-finals.
L’Equipe, as per GFFN, claim Atletico Madrid want Saliba – who has since won two caps for France while at Marseille. They have lodged an enquiry to get him, a player that cost Arsenal £30million back in the summer of 2019.
It remains to be seen if Arsenal are open to bringing him in and integrating him, or letting him go – and if so, what kind of fee they want. But it could help them in their pursuit of an Atletico Madrid player – Joao Felix.
Football London state that Arsenal want to sign Felix, a player that cost Atletico an enormous £113million (BBC) in the summer that Saliba joined Arsenal. His talents have since been stifled in a defensive Atletico side.
That is clear in his stats. In 43 games for Benfica, he scored 20 goals and laid on 11 assists. In 111 games for Atletico, he has only managed 29 goals and 15 assists. Many would argue that is down to being in a harder league.
But it is largely down to being in a side that is incredibly defensively-orientated. Felix might be tempted to leave and show the world what he is capable of, with a bit more freedom and Arsenal are keen to give him that.
His price tag will be huge, given he has since won La Liga at Atletico. Arsenal will need to bring that fee down, and if Atletico want Saliba, surely including him in a deal makes sense for all parties involved.
It might just be enough to make a player-plus-cash deal for Felix affordable – if Arsenal include Saliba, who is likely to be valued more than £30million thanks to his Marseille form. A player-plus-cash deal should be pursued.