Barcelona 'wanted to sign Saliba if they had failed to land Kounde'

Barcelona ‘wanted to sign Arsenal’s William Saliba if they had failed in their pursuit of Jules Kounde this summer’… though Mikel Arteta had no interest in letting his defender leave the Emirates

  • Barcelona made Jules Kounde their priority target to strengthen their defence
  • The French international had also been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea 
  • Barcelona reportedly considered William Saliba as an alternative centre back
  • They did land Kounde however, with Saliba excelling at Arsenal so far this season

Barcelona were interested in signing Arsenal defender William Saliba if they had failed in their bid to bring Jules Kounde to the Nou Camp this summer, according to reports.  

The French defender has become one of Arsenal’s most important players since returning from his loan spell at Ligue 1 side Marseille last season.

The 21-year-old’s future at the Emirates was still a talking point over the summer, however, amid talk that he could leave the club and return to the French side on a permanent transfer.

Barcelona reportedly wanted to sign William Saliba if they failed to land Jules Kounde

Kounde wanted to join Barcelona despite also receiving heavy interest from Chelsea

But Fabrizio Romano has now claimed that Barcelona drew up a list of alternatives if they failed to sign Kounde – who had also been strongly linked with Chelsea.

At the top of that list, was Kounde’s French international team-mate Saliba.   

However, if Kounde had opted to join Chelsea, it could still have been a tough task to bring Saliba to the Nou Camp.  

Xavi could have struggled to sign Saliba with the Gunners having no intention of selling him

The Gunners saw him as an important part of their plans going forward – a stance which they have been rewarded for given Saliba’s form at the start of the season.

Table toppers Arsenal have won seven of their opening eight Premier League games this season, with Saliba playing every minute. 

Barcelona manager Xavi was determined to strengthen his defence over the summer, also bringing in Andreas Christensen at the end of his Chelsea contract.

Despite Chelsea’s interest in Kounde, the 23-year-old wanted to move to the Nou Camp and completed a deal worth just under £50million.

Saliba has made an excellent start this season and Arsenal want to sign him to a new contract

There will be no regret so far from the Spanish side at their choice of priority at centre-back, with Xavi’s side top of the table after seven games.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail have reported that Arsenal have opened up talks with Saliba over a new contract.

The centre back, who joined from Saint-Etienne in 2019 for £27million but only made his competitive debut this season, has less than two years left on his current deal.

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