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Arsenal

Arsenal have already signed David Luiz’s replacement ahead of next season


Arsenal are set to wave goodbye to David Luiz at the end of the season, with the Brazilian preparing to walk out on a free transfer once his contract ends.

However, Gunners chiefs already have his replacement ready and waiting in the wings.

William Saliba is set to return from his loan spell at OGC Nice this summer and is expected to slot into the first-team immediately.

The youngster joined originally in 2019 but was sent back to Saint-Etienne for the year.

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Last summer when he returned Mikel Arteta made the controversial decision not to include him in his Premier League squad, loaning the young prospect to Nice for the year much to the player’s displeasure.

William Saliba has been impressive for OGC Nice during his loan
William Saliba has been impressive for OGC Nice during his loan

During his time in Ligue 1 he’s looked highly impressive, and wasn’t successfully dribbled past in any of his first ten games since joining on loan in January.

Despite being deemed surplus to requirements in January, Arteta is expected to recall Saliba at the end of the season and have him as a big part of his side for next season.

Back in February, the Gunners boss insisted that he was confident that the Frenchman would be part of the set-up for pre-season.

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William Saliba is yet to play a competitive game for Arsenal despite signing originally in 2019
William Saliba is yet to play a competitive game for Arsenal despite signing originally in 2019

He said: “He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us.

“Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision.

“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.”

It has long been expected that Saliba would be a long-term option at the back alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, and Luiz’s departure could set that up.

Arsenal suffer slightly from a lack of strength in depth at the back, with Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Callum Chambers their only other options.

If Saliba can make a good impression when he returns to north London, there’s reason to believe he’ll have an impact for a long time.

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