Nice president hints at extended stay for Arsenal defender

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere has hinted that Arsenal defender William Saliba could stay at the French side when his loan deal comes to an end.

The 19-year-old returned to France for the rest of the season earlier this month after Arsenal confirmed the deal last week.

The move is designed to give Saliba more playing time with his only two games this season coming in the EFL Trophy – and he was sent off against AFC Wimbledon in December.

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After completing his move, Saliba revealed his frustration at his first six months at the Emirates Stadium.

“The coach immediately told me that I was not ready. I would have at least liked to have had a chance to rediscover my rhythm,” Saliba told reporters on Friday.

“My first six months were difficult, because I was coming from six months where I wasn’t able to train because I was at home and couldn’t train outside, couldn’t play.

“I arrived there as they were finishing the league season, so I was training alone.”

And Rivere has not ruled out extending his stay if Saliba impresses before the end of the season.

Rivere told the club’s official website: “Let’s let him rediscover enjoying being on the pitch, playing.

“At the end of the six months, we’ll see – today he’s owned by a club called Arsenal. Everyone will come together in June and decide.

“A door is always open in life. When you have a situation where parties can talk, the doors are open. We will see, we are not there yet.”

Saliba joined Arsenal from St Etienne in July 2019 and spent the 2019/20 on loan at the club.



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