Marseille-bound William Saliba turned down an approach from Newcastle United, according to French newspaper L’Equipe (via Get French Football News).
As noted by the report, Marseille are hopeful of confirming their loan agreement with Arsenal for the 20-year-old centre-back this week.
Arsenal signed Saliba for £27million in 2019 but have twice loaned him out, first to Saint-Etienne and more recently to OGC Nice.
France youth coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi has described Saliba as a ‘monster’ who combines the ‘speed and power’ of Raphael Varane with the ‘positioning’ of Virgil van Dijk.
Newcastle appear to be in the market for a centre-back in the summer transfer window. The Magpies have been heavily linked with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer and also been mentioned as a possible destination for former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak.
Newcastle made an effort to sign Saliba on loan, as did Nice and Ligue 1 champions Lille, but all three were rebuffed.
The player apparently believes that moving to the Stade Velodrome will give him the most ‘visibility’.
Manager Jorge Sampaoli helped to convince him, while the chance to link up with former Arsenal team-mate Matteo Guendouzi and remain in the south of France were added incentives.
It’s thought the loan agreement won’t include an option to buy.
If Saliba’s concern is being as visible as possible to Arsenal as he looks to force his way into the first-team picture, then you’d think a Premier League loan to a club like Newcastle would have been the smartest move.
But perhaps he’s looking beyond North London, where he can’t seem to get a look-in, and knows that top European clubs are more likely to take notice of him at a Europa League outfit than they are a mid-table side.
Newcastle could now turn their attention back to Kabak, who was impressive for Liverpool and may be a more realistic target given Schalke’s relegation.
In other news, Ben Jacobs dropped this takeover claim.
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