Date published: Tuesday 25th August 2020 1:58
A report has revealed that Premier League new boy William Saliba rejected a move to Man Utd before deciding to join Arsenal last year.
The Gunners appear to be on an upward trajectory under Mikel Arteta, with their recent FA Cup success proof of their progress.
However, there remains question marks over their backline. They have shipped on average over 40 more goals across the past three Premier League seasons than their traditional top-six rivals.
Arteta is working hard to address that issue. The Gunners are expected to this week complete a £25m deal for Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille.
The flip side is that Arsenal are expected to see a number of departures, with the likes of Rob Holding reportedly on their way out.
Arteta could look to pair Gabriel with teenage star Saliba – a £27million signing from Saint-Etienne last summer.
However, it could have been a different story for Arsenal after it emerged that Man Utd failed in a bid to take him to Old Trafford.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made Saliba one of his priority signings upon taking the United job in December 2018.
The paper claims United made a firm approach to St Etienne to sign the teenager in January 2019. It’s even stated they offered Saliba ‘very lucrative’ personal terms to sign for the Red Devils.
However, as per the report, Saliba spurned the opportunity for three reasons.
Firstly, Arsenal had already sounded him out over a move months prior. As such, Saliba felt he ‘owed’ the Gunners his loyalty with the groundwork for a deal already having been done.
Secondly, Saliba felt his first-team prospects would have been better served at Emirates. Even now, United have six centre-half options, if you include the unwanted Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo on that list.
Thirdly, it’s claimed Saliba supported Arsenal as a boy and wanted to join his boyhood team ahead of any other. The Teleghraph claim he’s dreamed of following a long line of compatriots in playing for the Gunners.