William Saliba is to leave Arsenal for Nice on a six-month loan deal.
A move that was widely expected to take place will see the £27m mam move back to his native France on loan until the end of the season from Arsenal.
A transfer that was billed as one of the best made in recent years Arsenal beat numerous European clubs to the chase to secure the highly-rated centre-back’s signature in 2019.
Saint-Etienne sanctioned the deal but were adamant that he return to Les Verts for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign, an agreement made with the Gunners who were under Unai Emery’s tutelage at the time.
Playing 45 minutes of the friendly clash with MK Dons prior to the season kicking off, the ride has been anything but smooth since with Saliba not being selected for the Europa League squad and making the bench just once with the senior side – a Carabao Cup third round win over Leicester in September.
Now, as per various outlets including the Evening Standard, the 19-year-old is undergoing a medical on Tuesday ahead of a half season loan deal with OGC Nice.
The deal will be a simple loan, with no option to buy, and Les Aiglons will pay the entirety of the defender’s near £40k-per-week wages. Unlike the deal for Sead Kolasinac, Arsenal will not receive a loan fee.
It’s added that there is still a strong belief within the Arsenal camp that Saliba’s future will be a bright one, with the temporary departure simply with an eye on granting him valuable first-team minutes at top-flight level.
Back in early December, Mikel Arteta spoke in glowing terms of Saliba’s development, insisting that he’s ‘ready’ to play for the club.
"“Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he’s ready to play with us,” he told the official Arsenal website.“To be fair, he’s made massive improvements in the last few months and it’s been a really tricky situation for him.“As I mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.”"
Saliba was touted as a potential Championship target, but it appears a compromise has been found.