Arsenal news: Big things were expected from William Saliba when he joined the Gunners for £27 million from AS Saint-Etienne in 2019. The London-based club outbid league rivals, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to sign the talented Frenchman.
However, he failed to impress the management at the Emirates Stadium and is yet to make a single appearance for the club.
He spent the last two seasons on loan at Saint-Estienne and Nice respectively. The 20-year old was again sent on loan to Ligue 1 club, Marseille at the start of the current season.
Saliba made 36 appearances in all competitions for the Olympians so far this season, including seven in the European competitions. His performances at the Orange Vélodrome impressed the club’s president Pablo Longoria and he is reportedly looking to sign Saliba permanently during the upcoming summer transfer window.
Arsenal news: Gunner board sees William Saliba as an important player for the future
According to L’Equipe(via Metro), William Saliba is seen as the future of the club’s backline by the Arsenal board.
Ben White and Gabriel have established themselves as the first-choice centre-backs for Mikel Arteta this season. However, the duo is prone to making unforceful errors, which puts question marks over their long-term inclusion in the starting line-up. That could give the French defender the opportunity to establish himself in Arteta’s squad when he returns from his loan spell at the end of the season.
What did Mikel Arteta say about William Saliba’s future?
When quizzed about William Saliba’s long-term future at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta said:
“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan. “But a lot of things have happened to him. He’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.
Saliba has a contract until 2024 at the Emirates Stadium. Arteta is likely to have a look at him during the pre-season before deciding on his long-term future.
Even if the French defender fails to impress the current Gunners boss, the club will look to recoup most of the money they paid to sign him in 2019. That would take Saliba beyond the budget of Marseille FC.
The Gunners have registered a 3-2 victory against Watford in the league on Sunday. Arsenal are currently fourth in the EPL table and will be looking to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. They will next play Leicester City and Liverpool respectively in their league fixtures.
Meanwhile, Saliba’s Marseille will be up against FC Basel in the UEFA Conference League Round-of-16 game next.