William Saliba’s Arsenal future In doubt as Mikel Arteta plans move for Ben White
William Saliba is yet to make his senior debut for Arsenal nearly two years after signing for the club
Arsenal are poised to make a bid for Brighton centre-half Ben White and are willing to spend as much as £50million to sign the new England international.
The 23-year-old impressed while on loan at Leeds during their promotion winning campaign and impressed last season, comfortably making the step-up to Premier League football with the Seagulls.
White’s performances were rewarded with a place in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad for this summer’s European Championships and Mikel Arteta will, according to The Athletic, press ahead with plans to sign the defender after the tournament.
Brighton will not stand in White’s way should he seek to progress his career with one of England’s biggest clubs, but they will demand a fee upwards of £40m.
Although Arsenal failed to qualify for European competition following a mediocre season, reports claim the Gunners would have little problem matching Brighton’s asking price.
A move for White, however, raises further questions over the future of William Saliba who was due to return to Arsenal following a six-month loan spell with Nice.
The 20-year-old is still waiting to make his senior debut for his parent club nearly two years on from signing for the north London club in £30million deal.
Arteta had reportedly been willing to offer Saliba the chance to prove his worth in pre-season having previously harboured doubts about his ability to withstand the physical rigours of English football.
White’s potential arrival, however, would further restrict Saliba’s opportunities at Arsenal who still retain a number of central defensive options despite David Luiz’s recent departure.
Rob Holding is likely to assume a senior role in a revamped leadership team next season, while Calum Chambers’ versatility – he spent much of last season impressing at right-back – means he is likely to be retained, while Pablo Mari and Gabriel Mari represent two other solid options for Arteta.