William Saliba has quelled uncertainty over his future by reaffirming his commitment to Arsenal and saying he is relishing the chance to show Mikel Arteta what he is made of next season.
The 21-year-old Frenchman was a revelation on loan at Marseille in 2021/22, missing just two Ligue 1 matches as Jorge Sampaoli’s side finished as runners-up, while he was also recognised at international level with Didier Deschamps handing him three France caps this year.
He also scooped the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award and finished the campaign with the best true tackle success rate in Europe’s top five leagues among players who attempted 40+ tackles, underling his precocious defensive capabilities.
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Having been sent out on loan three times by Arsenal since joining the club from Saint-Etienne in 2019, Saliba’s latest spell away from the club has brought the most uncertainty over his future after he declared he wants “to come back and play in the Champions League” with Marseille.
However, he has since backtracked on those comments from last month, now outlining his intention to return to Arsenal this summer and fight for a place in Arteta’s side.
“I belong to Arsenal, and I still have two years there. I will be there for pre-season with Arsenal,” Saliba told Telefoot.
“I have played zero matches with Arsenal and I want to show them what I’m made of and have the chance to play for the supporters and for this big club.
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“That depends only on me. In any case, leaving (Arsenal) like that would be a shame.”
Despite Saliba’s brilliance at the Stade Velodrome in 2021/22 and Arsenal just missing out on a top-four Premier League finish, Arteta recently stated that he has no regrets over his decision to let the centre-back leave last summer.
Arteta told reporters last month: “We made the right decision. He has to come back. He has the experience necessary to be competitive with us.
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“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League match a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure.
“For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn’t have been good. William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time to gain experience. That’s it, there’s nothing else.”