Defender William Saliba has been named in France’s squad for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, further clouding the picture over his Arsenal future.
The 20-year-old has been given the nod to travel to the Far East, with the football tournament due to get under way on July 21. It ends on August 8, with France set to to play South Africa, Mexico and hosts Japan in the group stage. Saliba will join the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Florian Thauvin and Eduardo Camavinga in the squad.
But they have opted to leave out Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe as he will need a rest after Euro 2020. Saliba’s Arsenal career has yet to take off despite the fact he signed for the Gunners in July 2019.
He was loaned back to Saint Etienne for 2019-2020 before returning to the Emirates last summer. But there was more disappointment as he played for the club’s Under-23s last term before sealing a winter loan to Nice.
That was a successful spell, with 20 Ligue 1 starts under his belt as Les Aiglons finished ninth in the French top-flight standings. However, it is still no clearer if he has a future with the north Londoners.
It was thought the rangy stopper may be handed an opportunity to show what he can do after David Luiz’s exit. But multiple reports claim Arsenal are close to signing Brighton centre-back Ben White.
Mikel Arteta is hoping to improve his squad over the summer after a poor campaign. The Spaniard’s side could only manage to finish eighth in the table and will play no European football in 2021-2022.
That means they have less pulling power to attract new blood but rumours of White’s arrival will not go away.
Saliba talks on hold
There has been interest in the Bondy-born youngster from Newcastle United. It was thought that Magpies chief Steve Bruce was looking for a loan deal.
Despite the Gunners interest in White, it has been said that they want to keep Saliba on board. Other clubs have also been linked and there are now mixed messages over his future.
It was reported last week that the Emirates outfit were about to announce their plan for the player. But the fact he is about to jet off to the Land of the Rising Sun means any discussions will have to wait.
Pre-season will be all-but over by the time he returns and Arteta may have his plans finalised. The Athletic are reporting that no decision has been made but most things point to another loan spell.