Back end of last year, it was announced that Arsenal had triggered the 1-year contract extension in William Saliba’s contract. This is bad news for the club.
The fact we have had to force Saliba to extend his contract for a further year shows that current negoations have stalled.
If everything was going well for Saliba, he would have signed a new deal by now and Arsenal would not have had to activate the clause in his contract.
The extension just means that Arsenal will not lose him for free this summer, but will not reduce the chances that he departs.
All it means is we will now get a fee for him in the summer if he has not agreed a new deal. And I think he has one foot out of the door.
He is playing fantastic in his first year of Premier League football and is now justifying the hype.
Arsenal took it slow with him, loaning him out to Nice and Marseille to get the first team football he needed to reach his current level. We were unable to give him those minutes as he had plenty of faults to iron out. Plenty of growing too.
He also had his personal issues. It is easy to forget he is just 21-years-old.
During that time on loan, he went from teenager to man. He grow on the pitch and off. Matured.
At times he seemed frustrated that Arsenal were loaning him out. He was a young player with lots of influencers in his ear talking bad about us. But since joining with Mikel Arteta’s first team squad this season, he has integrated well.
There will be no shortage of takers if he does not agree a new deal with Arsenal. And many of those have probably already made contact letting him know what he could earn if he joined them.
And that is the problem Arsenal face with negotiations.
If you have someone like PSG telling him (through intermediaries) that they will pay him £250k a week, that is what he will demand at Arsenal.
But is he worth £250k a week? He has played just 16 Premier League games.
Some will say “if someone else is willing to pay that, then that is his value. We should pay it”. But this is poor business.
Just because someone else is willing to overpay for something (or someone), does not mean you should.
In football, what you pay a single player can have a huge impact on everyone else.
We are currently also in negotiations with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. I would say Martinelli and Saliba are at a similar level, Saka is a few runs on the ladder above the pair.
Saka is now a truly world class player. He would start for almost every club and country. Martinelli and Saliba would not walk into most teams, and are bench warmers for their country.
If you pay Saliba what he demands, then that pushes up what Martinelli wants, what Saka wants. It also pushes up what those below Saliba demand. Other first teamers will start to demand a similar salary as him.
And then just like that, you have lost control of your wage bill again, are haemorrhaging money without improving the squad, and all because you bowed down to one players demands.
It will say a lot about him if he decides to move to a lesser league for easy money and easy trophies. Playing in France will not challenge him. Will not improve him – Neymar has earned a lot of money in the last 5 years and won a lot of trophies. But he has gone backwards as a footballer.
I am still hopeful he will realise Arsenal is the best place for his career. That playing week in week out for us will see him become a regular for France.
If PSG come in for Saliba, we can not compete. All we can do is try and maximise the sale price. And the one-year contract extension does that.