Neewcastle and Lille are in a battle to sign Arsenal's William Saliba

Newcastle are in a battle with French champions Lille to sign out-of-favour Arsenal defender William Saliba, as the 20-year-old has been told to go and play ‘another season of regular football’

  • Frenchman William Saliba joined Arsenal from St Etienne for £27million in 2019
  • But the 20-year-old is yet to play for Mikel Arteta’s side after two loan spells
  • And now he’s wanted by Lille, after being told he needs to play regular football 
  • Arsenal’s interest in Ben White could see Saliba fall down the pecking order 

Newcastle United face competition from French champions Lille for Arsenal defender William Saliba.

The 20-year-old, who was named in France’s squad for the Olympics at the weekend, will be allowed out on another season loan as Arsenal look to finalise a £50million plus deal for Brighton defender Ben White.

Saliba was at Nice last season and, while Mikel Arteta said he would take a closer look at the 6ft4in centre back in pre-season, coaching staff believe another season of regular football is considered best for his development.

William Saliba has had loan spells at St Etienne and Nice since joining Arsenal in 2019

Arteta originally told Saliba that he didn’t believe he was ready for Arsenal’s first team and the planned signing of White would indicate that remains the case.

Opportunities will be limited at Arsenal while Saliba would be an almost automatic pick at Newcastle.

However, they now face competition from Lille who will be in the Champions League next season but have question marks over the futures of Jose Fonte and Sven Botman.

Saliba would get plenty of games at Newcastle as Steve Bruce looks to strengthen his defence

Saliba has had spells with St Etienne and Nice previously and Arsenal would like him to have Premier League experience but the prospect of playing in the Champions League could prove difficult to turn down.

Newcastle remain hopeful they can prise Mario Lemina away from Southampton. The Gabon international has one year left on his contract and Newcastle are willing to offer around £5million regardless of the fact owner Mike Ashley is continuing talks over the club’s pending sale and takeover.

Mario Lemina is a target for Newcastle after impressing on loan for Fulham last season

Arsenal, meanwhile, are discussing a number of defensive targets apart from White as they continue to overhaul their squad.

They have held talks with Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares and asked about Real Madrid’s Miguel Gutierrez as they consider back-up for Kieran Tierney – plus Red Bull Leipzig right-back Tyler Adams and Sassuolo’s Mert Mulder as replacements for Hector Bellerin, should Inter Milan or Atletico Madrid step up interest.

Talks are continuing over Sheffield United’s £35million-rated goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and an £17m deal for Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Arsenal also want a playmaker and a striker with concerns over Alexandre Lacazette’s future.

Bellerin, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are all discussing moves away.

Arsenal remain interested in Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, thought to be worth around £35million

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