Arsenal defender William Saliba will join French side Nice on loan for the rest of the season, according to Sky Sports.
Nice will not pay a loan fee for the Frenchman’s services but will cover his wages in full for the second half of the season. They do not have an option to make the loan permanent in the summer as the Gunners still see Saliba as an important part of their long term plans.
The 19-year-old central defender joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in a £27 million deal in the summer of 2019. He was loaned back to the French club for the 2019/20 season before finally linking up with the North London side ahead of this season. Saliba is yet to make his first team debut for Arsenal and is said to be frustrated at his lack of opportunities.
The Gunners are keen on providing the player with the opportunity to play regular football for the rest of the season so that he is better placed to break into the Arsenal side in the 2021/22 campaign. This loan move will do just that.
Manager Mikel Arteta has spoken about how last season was supposed to be a transitional year for the player but due to injury problems and the season being concluded prematurely due to the pandemic, it didn’t pan out the way the Gunners thought it would.
The plan was for Saliba to be loaned out in the summer so that he could have his year of transition but a deadline-day move to Saint-Etienne on loan collapsed due to administrative challenges.
Saliba will sign for a Nice side that find themselves 12th in the French league.