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January 20, 2021

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Arsenal defender William Saliba is returning to Ligue 1 (Getty)

Arsenal centre-back William Saliba has agreed to join Nice on loan for the rest of the season, according to reports in France.

The 19-year-old, who was signed in a £27 million deal from Saint-Etienne in July 2019, is still waiting to make his first appearance for Arsenal since joining them last summer.

Saliba has featured for Arsenal’s Under-23s but Mikel Arteta has said that the defender needs to go through a ‘transition’ period before he features regularly for the first team.

Saliba has attracted interest from several clubs ahead of the January transfer window, with his former club Saint-Etienne keen on re-signing him.

But according to Nice-Matin, Saliba has agreed to join Nice on loan for the remainder of the campaign, while the French club have no option to buy.

The report claims that the defender is undergoing a medical and signing his contract with the Ligue 1 club on Monday morning.

William Saliba is yet to make his first-team debut for Arsenal (Getty)

Last month, reports in France claimed that Patrick Vieira was pushing for Nice to sign Saliba as cover for Dante, who is set to miss the remainder of the season due to a cruciate ligament injury.

Nice have since sacked Vieira and appointed Adrian Ursea as manager for the remainder of the season.

Speaking last month, Arteta suggested that Saliba, who was left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad, was showing signs of promise.

‘To be fair, he’s made massive improvements in the last few months and it’s been a really tricky situation for him,’ said Arteta.

‘As I mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.

‘Now we’ve made some steps forwards, he’s working really hard and played for the Under-21s again.’

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