Paul Merson tips William Saliba to be sold by Arsenal this summer

William Saliba

William Saliba is due to return to Arsenal this summer (Picture: Getty)

Paul Merson believes Arsenal will sell William Saliba this summer, with manager Mikel Arteta not convinced by the defender.

In 2019, Saliba joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for £35 million but he has not featured in a competitive game for the north Londoners following multiple loan spells in France.

This season, the Frenchman has been playing at Marseille and has been a mainstay in their defence making 50 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 side.

According to reports, Saliba intends to return to the Emirates at the end of the season and fight for his place in Arteta’s squad. However, Merson, the former Arsenal forward, thinks the 21-year-old does not have a future at his old club.

Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: ‘William Saliba is running out of time to prove himself at Arsenal and I think he could be sold this summer.

‘There must be a reason he’s been loaned out three times by the club. Was he getting ripped in training? I don’t see why he’s still on loan otherwise. Arsenal paid a lot of money for him, but I think if anyone offers them their money back they would take it right now.

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has not been convinced by Saliba since taking over at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s almost three years he’s been there now and he can’t get a look-in. Maybe Mikel Arteta has watched him train and decided he’s nowhere near ready.’

Despite failing to impress Arteta so far, Saliba appears to be a player on the rise having secured regular football at Marseille this term while making his debut for France in March.

If he does stay with the Gunners next season, it is likely he would be fourth choice in the pecking order behind Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding.

Arsenal will need another central-defender for the next campaign with reports suggesting Pablo Mari is set to be sold to Udinese following a successful loan spell.

Meanwhile, though the Gunners are targeting the Champions League, they have already secured Europa League football next season so will require a bigger squad to cope with the additional games.

Speaking last month, Arteta acknowledged the need to have more players to pick from ahead of next season.

He said: ‘If you can afford it, and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers.’

MORE : Thierry Henry criticises Arsenal over decision to let William Saliba leave

MORE : William Saliba drops hint over Arsenal future with Marseille transfer admission

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