Despite speculations claiming that William Saliba might join Marseille permanently in the summer, Football.London understands that the defender still expects to return to Arsenal after the current season. In fact, despite joining the Gunners in the summer of 2019, the 20-year-old is yet to make his first-team competitive debut for Arsenal. His only outings have come for the club’s under-23s and during pre-season friendlies.
In that time, he has been loaned out to three different teams in Ligue 1. First with St. Etienne, then with Nice last year, and most recently with Marseille. In Marseille, he has continued to impress, making 27 appearances and keeping 14 clean sheets.
L’OM was interested in signing Saliba permanently in the summer. But it is now believed that the Frenchman would want to return to Arsenal. The youngster’s most pressing concern has been a lack of playing time. He is eager to accumulate minutes to further his development.
Ben White signed for the north London giants for £50m. In the presence of Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, and Calum Chambers all ahead of him in the pecking order, it was decided that Saliba would be best served by returning to France for the remainder of the season following discussions between his representatives and Arsenal technical director Edu.
William Saliba may find a place in the Arsenal team next season
Since Mari has gone on loan to Udinese and Chambers joined Aston Villa, it seems that the Frenchman may be able to find a place in the team for the next season. He will surely be part of the squad.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin should leave the club permanently this summer. Cedric isn’t deemed a stylistically similar enough fit to be a backup for Takehiro Tomiyasu. Saliba could also provide cover at right-back. He has played in the position while at Marseille.
In a statement issued earlier this month, manager Mikel Arteta expressed his desire for the 20-year-old to return. He echoed his previous statement that the player was still part of his plans.
A statement from the Spaniard said “He will return for pre-season and will be with us. I am hopeful that he will return after some games, with his performance increasing and his growth moving in the correct direction. That was the driving force behind our choice. I realise that it might be tough to explain or comprehend after the money that the club has spent trying to get him in, or after the money that the club has spent sending him on loan.”