In January, Marseille were handed a one-year transfer ban by FIFA for their involvement in a transfer dispute with Watford after Senegal international Pape Gueye reneged on a contract agreement with the Premier League club in favour of a four-year deal at the Stade Velodrome.
Watford complained about the deal. FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber ruled in their favour, forced the guilty parties to pay compensation and told Marseille that they can’t register “any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the next two entire and consecutive registration periods.”
Since then, Marseille have appealed to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and with a date for their hearing now set for October, it means they will be allowed to sign players during this summer’s window.
With that in mind, it seems they haven’t yet given up on signing William Saliba despite Mikel Arteta making it plainly clear that the France international is wanted back in London.
Speaking yesterday, Marseille president Pablo Longoria said they have been so impressed by Saliba’s efforts – the 21-year-old featured 51 times and was crowned Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Season – that they will most certainly ask the Gunners if there’s any chance of retaining his services in some capacity.
“We had a lot of conversations about analysing William Saliba’s season, especially in the last few days,” Longoria told RMC Sport.
“He is coming off an extraordinary season, with one of the highest number of matches played in Europe. He also joined the France team, which is incredible at his age.
“We discussed a lot internally about what we can do, to find out what the possibilities are. We respect his club, we have to thank Arsenal. Arsenal are a friendly club that helped us a lot during the last transfer window. We have very good relations.
“We have to talk to each other, see if there is the possibility of reaching an agreement between the clubs, there is the player’s will, the club’s will… But above all, we must respect Arsenal.
“There are different strategies, different ways of entering into transactions. It is especially necessary to come to an agreement if there are possibilities of being able to move forward.”
While there’s uncertainty around the Saliba situation, Marseille and Arsenal have clarity with regard to the future of Matteo Guendouzi. The Ligue 1 club had an obligation to buy the 23-year-old off the back of a clause in his loan contract and Longoria confirmed in March that a three-year deal had been agreed.