Newcastle United have enquired about the signing of William Saliba from Arsenal.
What’s the Word?
That is according to a report from L’Equipe (via Get Football News Now France), who claim that the Magpies are one of several top clubs that have enquired about signing the centre back.
The Frenchman is much in demand after an impressive loan spell at Marseille this season, for which he earned the UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award.
And while L’Equipe reported last week that the Gunners are keen to keep the 21-year-old and offer him a contract extension, it has now been claimed by journalist Mohamed Toubache-Ter that the youngster would like to go back to the Ligue 1 outfit next season, with his parent club putting a £27m price tag on their player, according to L’Equipe via GFFN – which in itself has opened the door for clubs to enquire about make a permanent move for the starlet.
A dream centre back signing for Howe
With Newcastle keen to build a competitive team for next season, they will be looking to bring in young talent with great potential that have already established themselves as being able to play at a high level- for which Saliba perfectly fits the bill.
Having already done business with the North Londoners last summer for the £25m acquisition of Joe Willock, it may be easier for the Tyneside club to strike a deal than other sides, especially now with a transfer budget of a reported £100m to spend this window.
At £27m, the former Saint-Étienne man is well in the price range for the Toon, and would perfectly slot in alongside Dan Burn in Eddie Howe’s defence. And at 21, he is a player that is only going to get better over time.
Praised for showing great maturity in his performances at a young age, the Bondy native has already drawn comparisons to some of the best central defenders in the Premier League, with fitness coach Nicolas St. Maurice saying that he “thought of [Virgil] Van Dijk” when he saw him, while his former youth coach Fabio Froscino claiming that he reminds him of Raphael Varane. Froscino went on to say:
“William will go far, very far. He reminds me of Raphael Varane.
“As a kid, he was already above the lot, technically clean, comfortable with the ball.
“I have never seen a kid have such a desire to succeed.
“He wanted, from an early age, to be a professional footballer, already hated defeat, transcended himself.”
These are all attributes that Howe will love in a centre back, and Saliba has also been statistically stronger than the former Bournemouth boss’ current starting centre back Fabian Schar this season, with a 93.1% pass completion rating that overshadows the Swiss’ 69.6% rating, while his average match rating is also higher, with the France international receiving an average of 6.87 according to Whoscored, compared to his counterpart’s 6.7.
Not to mention his qualities as a “leader,” as lauded by his former coach at Nice, Adrian Ursea.
Overall, Saliba would be a massive upgrade for Newcastle, and if they can pull off an unlikely deal, at £27m they could be getting one of the bargains of the summer.
And in other news, Newcastle have their eyes on another in demand defender.