According to ESPN, William Saliba has rejected Arsenal’s first contract offer as the club look to tie him down to a new long-term deal.

It’s claimed by James Olley that both parties are willing participants in the negotiations, which will step up again next week, and that the Gunners remain confident the 21-year-old will stay at Emirates Stadium past 2024 when his current contract, which was recently extended by a year, ends.

Saliba moved to Arsenal from Saint Etienne in 2019 but only made his senior debut in August after three loan spells back in France. Last season at Marseille, he was crowned Ligue 1 player of the season and on his return to London, Mikel Arteta was suitably impressed by his development.

In a recent interview with Jamie Carragher, the manager reflected: “The moment that Saliba came in and I looked at the amount of development he had in the last year at Marseille, I said, we need to adapt and straight away.”

Since pre-season Saliba has formed a formidable partnership with Gabriel in the heart of the Gunners’ defence playing all but 14 minutes of the Premier League campaign.

The defender has also become a fixture in the France senior squad and featured once at the World Cup as his country finished runners-up.

Several clubs, including Paris Saint Germain, are monitoring Saliba’s situation but it’s thought Arsenal are in a decent place to get a deal done with Champions League football likely to be on offer next season.

Speaking after the win at Sp*rs, Saliba was open about his representatives negotiating a new deal and said he was “so happy” at Arsenal.

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