Norwich and Brentford’s pursuit of Arsenal defender William Saliba appears to be over – with Goal’s Arsenal correspondent Charles Watt reporting that the youngster is expected to join Ligue One outfit Nice on loan for the remainder of the season.
Saliba moved to the Gunners from St Etienne last summer, and following a season-long loan deal with the French side, was expected to fight for his place in Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad at the Emirates.
But having been left out of the club’s Europa League and Premier League squads this season, Saliba has been restricted to playing for the Under-23s – with two of his appearances coming in the EFL Trophy against Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon.
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Saliba hasn’t been included in a single first-team squad this season, and after he wasn’t involved in the Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City last month, always looked likely to leave in January.
Both Brentford and Norwich have been interested in signing the centre-back in recent months, although it appears that the north Londoners view a move back to France as the best option.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see Saliba heading back to the French league on loan.
However, I believe that if Arsenal consider the defender part of their future plans, remaining in England and signing for a Championship side would have been far more beneficial.
In terms of Norwich and Brentford, with the two sitting first and fourth in the second-tier table respectively, missing out on Saliba shouldn’t prove too much of a blow.