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Marseille 'surprisingly optimistic' about William Saliba transfer despite Arsenal wanting to keep defender | The Sun

MARSEILLE are reportedly 'surprisingly optimistic' at signing William Saliba despite Arsenal having no intention of parting ways with the defender.

The 21-year-old starred on loan at the French side last season where he helped them finish second in the table, as well as being named the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.

His fine form saw him called up to France's senior squad, where he has now established himself as a key player under Didier Deschamps.

Saliba is expected to be a key member of Mikel Arteta's squad for the upcoming campaign having featured heavily in pre-season.

The Gunners gaffer was effusive in his praise for the youngster following the 4-0 win against Chelsea where he branded him a "top player".

And there has even been talk that he is set to sign a new contract at the Emirates, with his current deal due to expire in 2024.

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But Marseille appear to be refusing to accept defeat in their pursuit of the player, with club president Pablo Longoria jetting into London earlier this week to hold talks with Saliba's agent.

And now French media have stated that the Stade Velodrome outfit are backing themselves at being able to prise the defender away from Arsenal.

According to L'Equipe via GFFN, Marseille are 'surprisingly optimistic' at their chances of securing Saliba's services.

They claim that that the Marseille board 'remain attentive to Saliba’s situation' in North London.

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That is despite the news outlet acknowledging that Saliba is now considered an important player in Arteta's side.

It is understood that Marseille are struggling for funds with owner Frank McCourt reluctant to sanction any more transfers.

But L'Equipe still believe that there is a chance Saliba could return to Marseille.

A move away from Arsenal seems highly unlikely, with Arteta already telling potential suitors that Saliba is in his plans and will be given minutes to impress.

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