Atletico Madrid have reportedly identified Arsenal centre-back William Saliba as a possible target in 2023 following his stunning start to the season.
The 21-year-old has established himself as a key player under Mikel Arteta since returning from his third loan spell away from the Emirates Stadium.
Saliba has forged a formidable partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes in the heart of defence with the pair starting all 12 Premier League games together.
But his future at Arsenal remains in question with the France international into the final year of his contract.
The north London giants do have the option to extend Saliba’s stay by a further 12 months, but the club is desperate to keep him.
Keen to tie him down to fresh terms and secure his future, it has been claimed the Gunners have offered him a new deal following weeks of talks.
Still, Spanish news outlet Fichajes claim Atletico are keeping tabs on Saliba with boss Diego Simeone a huge admirer.
Simeone is in the market for a new centre-half with the likes of Jose Maria Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Felipe ‘not at the level expected of them’ this term, with Atletico crashing out of the Champions League and missing out on a Europa League spot this week.
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It has been said it is one of the Argentine gaffer’s ‘great wishes’ to secure the services of Saliba next year.
Atletico lost out to Arsenal in 2019 when he joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for £27million.
And it appears the player has remained on Atletico’s radar, with the Spanish side keeping track of his progress while he was on loan at Marseille last season.
But, in a blow for Atletico, Fichajes have declared that he has been deemed as ‘untouchable’ by Arteta.
Should Atletico miss out on Saliba, it has been reported how they could target Athletic Bilbao ace Inigo Martinez or Torino’s Perr Schuurs instead.
Speaking to Arsenal last month, Saliba insisted his aim is to help take the club back to the top and become the dominant force they used to be.
In an interview featured in the Arsenal programme, he said: “I want to win everything.
“I want to help the club to come back to the very top. I will give everything for this club to help us get back there.
“It has been hard for me as well at times at Arsenal, not playing all the time, but sometimes sport is like this. You don’t only have good moments – it’s part of life.
“That’s all in the past. Now I’m just focused on the present and on the future.
“I want to do my best for Arsenal and keep improving and working hard every day.”
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