Monday, October 2, 2023

Arsenal ‘shocked’ by William Saliba contract demands as fears grow over summer PSG sale

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Arsenal have reportedly been shocked by salary demands during negotiations to extend William Saliba’s Emirates stay after a sensational season under Mikel Arteta.

The Frenchman has been pivotal for the Gunners in their Premier League title charge, which faltered following injury to the 22-year-old and now concerns are growing over whether he could leave the club this summer.

Saliba has just over a year left on his Arsenal contract, having joined the club in 2019 but had three loan spells back in Ligue 1 before staking a claim in the first team this season.

He has been the bedrock of a much-improved defence, having formed a strong partnership with Gabriel while the Gunners were on course for a title push before he missed the final two months of the season through injury.

His influence is well-known at the club and why they are attempting to tie him down to a long-term contract, but The Sun have claimed that they are struggling to reach an agreement after being rocked by his wage demands. Arsenal have offered to triple his £40,000-a-week deal but remain far apart in talks – after recently handing Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Martinelli new deals.

The club fear that Paris Saint-Germain will pay Saliba ‘whatever it takes’ to bring him back to France, forcing Arteta’s outfit to work around the clock to reach a compromise to fend off the Ligue 1 champions. They are unwilling to let him run down his current deal and leave for free at the end of next season, which may leave Arsenal forced to sell their star defender this summer in order to get a transfer fee.

Arsenal had hoped to pay him in line with defensive team-mates such as Ramsdale, Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko but if PSG are able to land Saliba for a low transfer fee, they can offer a mammoth salary package that the Gunners are unable to compete with.

A new contract for Saliba is seen as a priority, something Arteta suggested at the beginning of the month. “We want to keep our best talent. Especially the players that deserve some recognition,” the boss said when asked if there was any update on Saliba’s improved deal.

“I think he has been incredible since he came back from his loan period and we want to reward him, that is for sure. We will find the right moment to do that.

Obviously Edu and the board are on top of every negotiation regarding new contracts and now we are doing everything we possibly can to do that in the right moment at the right time. The communication and the relationship is super. It is about timing, I think. Nothing else.”

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