According to French publication Nice Matin, William Saliba is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 side Nice on loan for the rest of the season.
The France under-21 international returns to France having endured a very difficult six months in London.
On loan at former club Saint-Etienne, Saliba was recalled by the Gunners at the expense of an appearance in the French Cup final back in July. Handed Mohamed Elneny’s number 4 shirt, it looked as though the 19-year-old was being primed for a breakthrough year in the Premier League but after assessment by Mikel Arteta he was excluded from squads for both domestic and European competition.
To make matters worse, a second loan move to Saint-Etienne collapsed in the dying hours of October’s transfer deadline day because the paperwork wasn’t completed in time. As a consequence, Saliba has been stuck in a state of limbo, training with the club’s first team but playing for the under-23s.
Mikel Arteta said the situation had made him ‘fed up’ and for some time we’ve known that Saliba was going to move in January.
Nice, who recently sacked Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, have been on the lookout for a defender since veteran captain Dante suffered a season-ending ACL injury. It’s understood the player will undergo a medical today. There is no option for the French club to buy the player at the end of the season.