Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists William Saliba will be returning to the Emirates Stadium next season after his year at Marseille.

The centre-back has spent the season on loan at Marseille, and reports in France claimed the 21-year-old hoped to stay on with the Ligue 1 club for another campaign.

However, Arteta says he will need Saliba in 2022-23 as Arsenal face Europa League commitments alongside their Premier League duties, and it means a long-awaited competitive senior debut awaits the young defender.

The France international was signed by Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in July 2019, but immediately loaned back to Les Verts, and subsequent loans with Nice and Marseille have followed.

Saliba was a near ever-present for Marseille, who finished second in Ligue 1, and was named in the league's team of the season.

He won his first two senior caps for France in March friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa, putting him in the frame for a World Cup place. He has also been included in Les Bleus' squad for next month's Nations League games.

"He has to come back," Arteta told RMC Sport. "He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us.

"If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League match per week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn't have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that's for sure.

"For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn't have been good. William wasn't with us because he wouldn't have had the playing time to gain experience. That's it, there's nothing else."

Matthijs de Ligt's agent Mina Raiola is ready to find the defender a new club.

The outspoken representative suggested he could join Barcelona, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain.

He also indicated the Premier League was of interest to the Juventus centre-back.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA FRONTRUNNERS TO LAND DE LIGT

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Juventus defender De Ligt, claims The Sun.

Raiola has indicated the 22-year-old is ready to leave Juve, who are off the Serie A title pace this term.

Chelsea are expected to lose a host of defenders and eager to make a move for De Ligt.

 

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- Cashed-up Newcastle United have an eye on Inter forward Edin Dzeko as well as a loan deal for Manchester United's Anthony Martial, reports The Sun.

Manchester United have been in touch with River Plate about 21-year-old Argentinean forward Julian Alvarez, claims Ole.

United are also set to win the race to sign Olympique Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara according to FourFourTwo.

- Gerard Romero claims that Tottenham will make another move for Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet after missing out on him last transfer window.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that Jonathan Ikone's move from Lille to Fiorentina is agreed with only the paperwork left to be signed on a five-year deal with a €15m fee.

Borussia Dortmund's England international Jude Bellingham has been in Germany more than 12 months.

He has regularly been linked with moves back to England, having impressed in the Bundesliga.

Liverpool had a quiet transfer period, with only French defender Ibrahima Konate signed.

TOP STORY - LIVERPOOL TO LAUNCH RECORD BELLINGHAM DEAL

Liverpool will launch a record £80million (€93m) deal to secure central midfielder Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund claims the Daily Star.

The report says the England international is Reds manager Jurgen Klopp's top transfer target.

Theproposed deal would make 18-year-old Bellingham the club's most expensive ever signing.

 

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- Real Madrid have joined Manchester United and Barcelona in the race to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans according to AS. The current contract of the 24-year-old Belgium international expires in 2023.

- Leicester City's Senegal midfielder Nampalys Mendy will join Istanbul giants Galatasaray on loan before the Turkish transfer window closes, reports Foot Mercato. Mendy, who has been on international duty, will rush to Turkey to complete the deal.

- Le10Sport reports that veteran Brazilian free agent David Luiz is set to ignore options with Marseille and Salernitana and instead return to his homeland.

- Roma will make another move for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria in January after missing out on him during the most recent transfer window reports Corriere dello Sport.

Marseille have confirmed the signing of Matteo Guendouzi, who joins on a one-year loan from Arsenal with an option to buy.

The French midfielder moves to Ligue 1 to continue his career after spending the 2020-21 season out on loan at Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.

Guendouzi made 24 appearances during the temporary stint in Germany, scoring two goals and providing one assist as Hertha avoided relegation with a 14th-placed finish in the top tier.

Signed from Lorient in July 2018, the 22-year-old played in 82 games for Arsenal and was a regular under former Gunners boss Unai Emery.

However, Guendouzi had an altercation with Neal Maupay during a game with Brighton and Hove Albion in June 2020 that led to Mikel Arteta leaving the player out of his squad. He did not feature for the club again, with this latest move seemingly ending his time at Emirates Stadium.

 

Despite departing, the France Under-21international made clear he will recall fondly his time at Arsenal as he prepares to start a new chapter with Marseille.

"Thank you Arsenal, thanks for everything!" Guendouzi posted in the first of a series of tweets.

"I discovered and learned so much during my time here. It would be impossible to list everything without forgetting one memory or word… but I will never forget any minute spent with the Gunners jersey.

"I will never forget the Emirates Stadium. I will never forget the fans. I will never forget the city. I will never forget everything I've been through here. I will never forget that my only will was to defend with pride Arsenal colours.

"Thanks to all of those who believed in me during my time here, during the good and the bad moments. I can only wish the best to the club and its fans who deserve so much, trust me! Goodbye Arsenal, I will never forget you and will be a Gooner forever."

Guendouzi's arrival continues a busy offseason for Marseille. The French club had already added Cengiz Under – who was on loan at Leicester City last term – from Roma for the 2021-22 season, as well as midfielder Gerson and centre-back Leonardo Balerdi on permanent deals.

Sergio Aguero's next destination is a hot topic of conversation after Manchester City confirmed he will leave at the end of the season.

The Argentina forward has been linked with a host of clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 32-year-old has spent the past decade in England with City.

 

TOP STORY - BLUES IN BOX SEAT FOR AGUERO

Chelsea have moved into pole position to land Aguero, who wants to remain in England according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues, who wanted to sign Aguero in 2011 when he left Atletico Madrid for City, will be in the market for a forward with rumours about Timo Werner's future after an underwhelming debut season at Stamford Bridge.

Portuguese publication Record claims Benfica are also interested in Aguero, while The Sun has added Arsenal and his former club Independiente to the list.

 

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- Lyon's Netherlands international Memphis Depay has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, but Marca claims Liverpool could 'muscle in' for the soon-to-be free agent.

- Le Parisien reports that Paris Saint-Germain are in a hurry to get Kylian Mbappe to commit to a new contract amid speculation linking him with a move away, including to Real Madrid.

- L’Equipe claims that Arkadiusz Milik has a €12million buyout clause in his Marseille loan contract from Napoli and Juventus are preparing an offer to swoop for him.

Sheffield United midfielder Ismaila Coulibaly has attracted interest from AC Milan and Galatasaray but the Blades want to keep him, according to Yorkshire Live.

Where will Jack Grealish play his football next season?

It is one of the big questions in English football right now and Manchester City have joined the conversation.

City are reportedly emerging as the favourites to sign the Aston Villa captain.

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINE UP GREALISH SPLASH

Manchester City appear best placed to sign Aston Villa's £100million-rated captain Jack Grealish, according to the Daily Mail.

Grealish reportedly came close to joining Manchester United last year, but the Red Devils could not come up with the funds to seal the deal.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a well-known admirer of Grealish, previously calling him "an exceptional player".

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Liverpool have joined the queue chasing Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni, with a reported £43m (€50m) move. European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also allegedly keen on the 21-year-old Italy international.

Tottenham are likely to opt out of exercising the £36m (€42m) option-to-buy Carlos Vinicius, who is on loan at Spurs from Benfica according to the Daily Mail. The report claims Spurs are only willing to pay more than half that amount for the Brazilian.

- Calciomercato says Juventus are considering a move for Arkadiusz Milik, who they have previously been linked with as they prepare for the possible departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. Juve are reportedly set to revive their interest in Milik, with the Poland international on loan at Marseille from Napoli.

- Football Insider reports that United are plotting a move for Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez amid doubts over star David de Gea and Dean Henderson. They have also been linked with Milan sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Real Madrid are keen to bring back Levante winger Jorge de Frutos to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to Marca.

Andre Villas-Boas expects to leave Marseille at the end of the season after the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss admitted to an "abysmal" failure.

The 43-year-old, who was appointed by OM in May 2019, will see his two-year contract expire at the end of this campaign.

Marseille sit 13 points behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain heading into the latest round of fixtures, occupying sixth place having lost their last three games in the competition.

Their Champions League performance was also far short of expectations, with Marseille finishing at the foot of their group with just three points.

Asked whether it looked as though he would leave in June, Villas-Boas said on Friday: "Yes, I think so. I don't have other information.

"But I'm not asking for anything, with the position we have, it's rather normal.

"With our performances this year, it's normal. It's true that it goes a bit against what the management said, but yes, I think it'll be the end.

"I think we all agree this is the path it's taking. Before, there was some noise, there were some talks between my agents and the club, now there's nothing."

Villas-Boas had hoped his team would be challenging PSG for the title, but instead they are outside the Europa League qualifying places.

Marseille sold midfielder Morgan Sanson to Aston Villa this week, while young winger Marley Ake left for Juventus and Kevin Strootman was loaned to Genoa.

Such exits may weaken Marseille for the remainder of the season, although they have signed Arkadiusz Milik on loan from Napoli and Franco Tongya arrived from Juventus.

"Guys, look, we're 15 points behind, which is an abysmal gap behind our season goal," Villas-Boas said.

"I'm not going to argue that. I told you that next season is Year Zero for the club, after all has been done, it's going to be deep cleaning.

"And it's good to create a strong base for the future."

Portuguese coach Villas-Boas had his big break when he served on Jose Mourinho's staff at Porto, Chelsea and Inter before striking out on his own.

After spells in Portugal with Academica and Porto, he had stints with Chelsea and Tottenham before moving on to Zenit and Shanghai SIPG, spending 18 months without a club prior to accepting the Marseille job.

Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged the role Thomas Tuchel played in his first managerial trophy as Paris Saint-Germain beat Marseille 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday.

Mauro Icardi and Neymar – the Brazil international's 18th successful penalty from the 19 he has taken for PSG – scored for the Ligue 1 champions, while Dimitri Payet set up a tense finale with an 89th-minute strike for Andre Villas-Boas' side. 

PSG held on, though, to claim a record eighth consecutive Trophee des Champions crown and their 10th overall midweek.

It was only Pochettino's third game in charge of PSG and the former Tottenham boss made sure he recognised the work of Tuchel, who was dismissed as head coach on December 29. 

"I want to thank the players, Leonardo [sporting director] and Nasser Al-Khelaifi [president]," Pochettino – a Champions League and EFL Cup runner-up with Spurs – said. "I also have a thought for Thomas Tuchel and his staff, who allowed us to play this match."

"We are making progress in all areas where we want to implement our ideas. We have a very intelligent group of players, with great adaptability. We are very happy.

"I hope to win other titles, but the first one will always be special.

"The group has shown a lot of maturity, it has learned from its mistakes. It's a huge emotion to win with this staff, it's difficult to describe in words, especially since it's a club that made me become a better person, a better player."

Marseille finished the game having had four shots on target to PSG's three, although the Parisians enjoyed a whopping 63.6 per cent possession and completed 268 more passes than their opponents. 

Despite that, Villas-Boas believes his side did not deserve to lose. 

"It was a balanced game, with few chances for both teams," he said. "We were the best team. I think we didn't deserve to lose this game. PSG going 2-0 up went against the run of play

"Congratulations to PSG. The best honour they gave us was the party that followed, because we offered them a difficult match."

Mauricio Pochettino secured the first trophy of his managerial career as Paris Saint-Germain edged past Marseille 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday. 

In just his third game in charge of the French giants, former Tottenham boss Pochettino watched his side claim the trophy for the eighth consecutive year without ever having to get out of second gear. 

Mauro Icardi got them on their way, sliding in from close range after 39 minutes before Neymar, making his first appearance in a month after an ankle injury, added a second from the penalty spot five minutes from time.

Dimitri Payet pulled one back for Marseille in the 89th minute, but PSG held on to claim a deserved win. 

Neymar will make his return for Paris Saint-Germain when they take on rivals Marseille in the Trophee des Champions.

PSG will look to win the trophy for a remarkable eighth consecutive season as they line up against Marseille in Lens on Wednesday.

New head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed Neymar will play some part in the contest after missing the last five matches with an ankle injury.

"Neymar is available - he will be with the group," Pochettino said about the Brazil forward, who has been out for a month since the Ligue 1 defeat to Lyon.

"We will decide on Wednesday if he will start."

There have been concerns about burnout for Kylian Mbappe, who again played 90 minutes in the 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Brest on Saturday.

But Pochettino is optimistic about the World Cup winner's fitness ahead of a match with high stakes, where the coach feels pride is more important than the silverware on offer.

"Kylian is in perfect condition," Pochettino said when asked if Mbappe could start for a third time in eight days.

"We are evaluating the different options for our line-up on Wednesday. We will see which team is the best to win this match. We need to perform at the best level to get the win against Marseille.

"My main motivation is to win this game. We are playing against a great rival in OM. Pride is important, much more than titles. We will do everything to win this match. 

"If we win, we know it will bring a trophy. But the most important thing is pride."

Asked about his own experiences of Le Classique as a PSG player, Pochettino added: "I remember these meetings perfectly.

"All the games were very special. For the players, the fans, the club, football is a sport of emotions.

"We realise with the health situation how much we miss the fans. The importance of this match, I had already felt it in my time."

Five players were sent off in stoppage time when these two sides met in Ligue 1 in September, following a brawl, but Pochettino sees that having no bearing on this week's game.

"The first match [against Marseille this season] is one I was not involved in. I can't talk much about it. I saw pictures. The situation is over," Pochettino said.

PSG will be without Colin Dagba, the latest player at the club to test positive for coronavirus.

Dagba has started both PSG games under Pochettino, but the defender will not play no part against Andre Villas-Boas' side as he is self-isolating.

Fellow defender Thilo Kehrer and Rafinha have also tested positive for the virus since PSG returned to training this month.

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