Arsenal loanee insists he wants to be a starter if he returns in the summer

William Saliba will return to Arsenal in the summer after a very fine loan spell at Olympique Marseille.

The defender joined the Gunners in 2019 and has not played for their first team until now.

They have shipped him out on loan in the last two seasons and he has been in great form in this campaign.

His fine performances in Ligue 1 have earned him a place in the France national team and he would want to build on that.

At OM, he is a first-choice player and one of the first names on their team sheet, but Arsenal has a solid centre-back pairing at the moment and the Gunners will only put him in the team if he proves he is better than one of Gabriel Magalhaes or Ben White.

He was speaking about the prospect of turning out for the Gunners next season and tells L’Equipe via Sports Witness: “I can’t be happy on Arsenal’s bench. I want to play as a starter. Afterwards, if I enter the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like being in the U23s and never being in the squad.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

If Saliba believes he is good enough to be a starter at Arsenal, he will need to prove that when he returns to the club.

Before now, he could not impress Mikel Arteta and his return will be a new chance to change that impression, hopefully, he does.

Tags William Saliba


  1. Maybe you meant to say his attitude didn’t impressed the manager. Cause you can’t expect someone who has never be given a chance to impress you. He did impressed a 2 world cup winner in less than a year. One as a player and then a manager more than he has impressed us at Arsenal in 3years. Even his half season last season is not impressive enough for you guys. We just better cash up on him and stop with this excuses up and down.

  2. Saliba is a very good defender compared to Gabriel and white. Arteta should include him in the squad. The guy play against top teams and top players and his stat shows He’s a very good defender compared to arsenal duo

  3. White, Gabriel, and Saliba are too talented and productive to have one wasted on the bench.

    Why not move White to DM? His defending, pace, technique, and passing fits that position. Didn’t he play DM some at Brighton?

    It saves money with needing a 4th choice CB rather than a starting DM. Saliba is showing how bright his future is, and he is progressing to be a top or even World class CB in the coming years.

    The old adage “Keep your talent happy” comes to mind, and we are the envy of many clubs with our riches at CB.

    NOBODY should be a nailed on starter, and should be competing everyday for that place in the lineup.

  4. well my opinion is you have earn the shirt
    nothing is a given just because of who you are
    Saliba has improved alot the last season granted but he should not expect to just walk in over either Gabby or Whitey.

    If he returns to be part of the squad, he needs to earn it, show what he can do and be patient.

    Gomez last night summed up exactly what i mean in his post match interview, be ready and take your chances when given

  5. I believe he Will playing especially now that there will be 5 substitute next season. We can also use 3 defenders sometimes depending on the opposition and tactics we deploy

  6. The gaffer will make no mistake this time.

    William Saliba is an Arsenal player and should remain an Arsenal player at all cost, we should do everything to extend his contract.

    Nah, cannot just walk into Arsenal starting team like that, Big Ben and Gabriel doing extremely well just now, but we should welcome him in the squad,

    I see this as a positive, someone could put there hand around the kid shoulders tell him he is needed here, let him see and feel a sense of belonging.this is a beautiful selection problem to have, we knows his ego may be a little bruise, but he is an exciting prospect

  7. I hear what you were saying earlier Durand, you are suggesting moving Ben White to midfield in order to allow Saliba to come into the team by way of a compromise

    The Manager has no need (and probably no desire) to compromise

    He bought Ben as a Premier League experienced central defender and he has had a good season in that position so far, why would he want to move him out of position?

    I agree with you Val, you have to earn the shirt, Saliba has done that at Marseille, let’s see whether he can for us

    Gun Smoke, Arteta has made mistakes sure but which ones exactly apply to Saliba?

  8. Don’t change what is working and is not broken.
    Our defence is doing alright and Saliba has to wait his turn. Can’t expect to just walk in just because you are saliba and get so much love / sentiment from our fans.
    I never understood why Arteta failed to give Saliba a solid go in the first team but that is life. I have grown to let the manager make his decision. He will rise or fall by those decisions he makes.

    Saliba is very talented and I want him back at Arsenal, but he shouldn’t be demanding being a starter. So he wants Gabby or White to be dropped for him? For what reason?

  9. To be fair Goonster, I doubt whether Saliba actually said he wanted White or Gabby dropped for him, at least I hope not!

  10. Fingersfurnell

    Sorry about the late response just saw it.

    The mistake Arteta made relating to Saliba was leaving him out of the squad.

    Please note, the very first thing I state was THIS TIME THE GAFFER WILL MAKE NO MISTAKE, as I knows he genuinely realize it,

  11. Good morning Gun Smoke, no worries

    If you are talking about the start of last season I don’t think fans were talking about that as a mistake, we were all too busy moaning about Arteta leaving Ozil out of that same squad and letting Emi go and then later on in the season for buying Willian!

    We had just won the FA Cup and had Luiz, Holding, Mustafi and Mari who had played a part in winning it, Chambers who had looked like Arteta’s preferred choice on the right but was injured the previous season and had just signed Gabriel as a 22 year old prospect to integrate into the first team on the left side of central defence

    That didn’t really leave a lot of game time options for a 20 year old Saliba who had only played 12 games on loan for Saint Etienne the season before and who Arteta had probably only met for the first time a month or so before naming the squad

    If there was a “mystery” at all it was that Saliba didn’t play for the Under 23s that season before going on loan to Nice, probably not entirely Arteta’s decision (maybe it was the player’s?) and not really a “mistake”

    The situation is completely different now and my view would be that Saliba will come back to Arsenal and compete for a first team place, he is now ready to do that

  12. Good morning Fingersfurnell, fe real mate

    Yes we were talking about it, remember Mustafi though showed a little improvement but was still prone to making mistakes, I remember reading something in the paper where a member of the selling club couldn’t believe it when Arsenal turn up with thirty add millions quid, for his service.

    Remember again the gaffer did admit it was a mistake leaving out William Saliba and regret leaving him out.

    William Saliba and Wesley Fofano was playing together at the same club in France , they were actually on the same level, both sold between £27 – £30 million, one got his chance the other did not, do you think if he had gone to Leicester he wouldn’t have got a chance?

    Am not holding it against the gaffer as anyone can make mistake, the fact he recognizes it pretty early is to his credit. À do think some times the gaffer could do with a little help, it’s a massive job

    Ozil case was a no brainer and maybe should have been left out long before

  13. Sorry Gun Smoke, it’s true Arsenal fans were pretty unforgiving with regard to Mustafi (and many others, still are!) but I can’t really work out what your point is on the first paragraph?

    Arteta didn’t say he made a mistake at all, I’m not sure he even said he regretted not putting Saliba in the Europa squad so that he would be available as an option for the games against Rapid Vienna, Dundalk and Molde, 6 games that we won comfortably without him at the start of a good run to the semi final but he did make a comment about it because he had a number of central defender injuries at the time and wanted to rest those still available for those games, that was all

    He certainly didn’t say he regretted leaving Saliba out of the Premier League squad

    Saliba & Fofana are two different players with a former Club connection, they were sold at different times to different Clubs for different fees, Fofana cost more a year after Arsenal had signed Saliba, maybe there’s a hindsight question as to why we didn’t buy Fofana instead or why we let Saliba stay on loan when Leicester didn’t with Fofana, Leicester’s situation and priority needs were different to ours at the time and it was the right decision for them

    It is only this season that Saliba is getting these good reviews, players develop and mature at different times

    It feels like the right time for him to be in Arsenal’s first team squad next season, it didn’t before this season, no mistakes, no bad treatment, he just wasn’t ready

  14. Yes Fingersfurnell, I was thinking then with how poor Mustafi was playing at the time., if Saliba had given a chance , there is no way he could have played worst than Mustafi at the time.

    The club we bought Masafi from was extremely happy to sell him to us, they just could not believe there luck.

    That’s what I was trying to say in the first paragraph, as it relates to he Arteta regretting not putting him into the squad, will need to research that a little, maybe seek confirmation from my neighbors

    On a slightly different matter.
    Did you remember after we beat Man United at Old Trafford, at the end of the game Arteta was commending Eleney, and am going to quote him here, I prefer players with zero ego, a fan told me that was a direct swipe at Saliba, as he wasnt happy with his attitude so it did appear some bad blood was there

    1. Mustafi’s last game before that was helping the team keep a clean sheet against Man City in the FA Cup Semi Final, he got injured in that game, missed the final and the start of the season we are talking about

      Socratis wasn’t named in that squad either, the start of him being moved on, Gabriel was brought in as his replacement

      Mustafi was moved out in the February of that season, Arteta was happy enough at that stage to go with Holding, Mari, Luiz and Gabriel to good effect because we had a decent end to the season after the iffy run we had in the middle of the season

      Luiz moved on at the end of that season, Ben White came in

      We bought Mustafi in 2016, so I don’t really know what that’s got to do with it?

      I don’t think any of this has much to do with Saliba’s situation at the start of last season and linking the Elneny comment to him is very random!

      However, I would imagine the Club would rather Saliba had gone on loan to an English Championship Club this season but players have to agree loans so maybe Saliba preferred to go back to France

      That has worked out well for the player but possibly not as much for Arsenal

      We’ll see

  15. You are right probably not the premier league squad, he regretted, but European.

    Arteta on why he left William Saliba out,
    And why he regrets it. – Daily Cannon

    Dan Critchlow, October 29th 2020

  16. Fingersfurnell, you demonstrate immense knowledge of the game and Arsenal in particular , are you the fan that was born in Normandy?

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