William Saliba enjoyed a brilliant loan spell with Marseille last season as he won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season award and now looks set for a bigger role at Arsenal in 2022/23.
Mikel Arteta will have to back up his comments about taking Arsenal to the ‘next level’ as he seeks to persuade William Saliba to stay at the Emirates.
After last season’s agonizing failure to break into the top four, the Spaniard has been open about wanting players in his squad who can ensure their continued upward trajectory. This has already been evident in the transfer window, with the arrival of Fabio Vieira and a deal for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus drawing closer.
And Arteta will get the chance to further bolster the ranks by finally integrating Saliba into the first-team picture. It’s now been three years since the Frenchman signed for the Gunners – and he’s still waiting for his first appearance for the senior team.
But after his latest loan spell with Marseille showed Arsenal exactly the kind of talent they have acquired, Arteta has firmly stated he will be involved. “He has to come back,” Arteta said confidently last month. “He has the experience and the environment to be competitive with us.
“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure. .
“In terms of growth and what he could do next year, it wouldn’t have been good. William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time to acquire some experience. That’s all, nothing else.
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However, after helping Marseille qualify for the Champions League on their own, they are desperate to bring him back to the club next season. CMR by GFFN report that despite the Gunners’ commitment to playing Saliba, the French club are willing to commit £25million to sign him permanently.
Arteta now faces a personal test of his ability to truly convince Saliba that his future is best placed in North London and that he can deliver on his promise of successfully developing him into one of the Premier’s top defenders. League.
Chairman Pablo Longoria has spoken openly about his desire to retain the 21-year-old, who on his current run could be worth far more than that fee in just a few years. “We respect his club, we have Arsenal to thank,” Longoria told RMC. “It’s 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 will of the player, the will of the club… But above all, we must respect Arsenal.
The removal of financial restrictions has also boosted their hopes of completing the marquee signing and an offer could force Arteta to fulfill his promise of an expanded role. Saliba had previously admitted he would be open to returning to play in Europe’s top competition, before clarifying his position more emphatically.
“I belong to Arsenal, and I still have two years there,” he told TF1. “I’ll be here for pre-season with Arsenal. I haven’t played any games for Arsenal and I want to show them what I’m made of.” and have the chance to play for the fans and for this great club. In any case, leaving like that would be a shame.”
As fans focus on earning potential, Arteta must acknowledge that keeping Saliba in North London could be his most important activity of the summer.