Manager Mikel Arteta has told reporters in France that William Saliba will be returning to play for Arsenal next season.
The 21 year-old has enjoyed a thoroughly impressive campaign with Marseille this term, playing a key role in helping them to qualify for the Champions League after steering them to a second-placed finish, picking up the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, as well as earning a call-up to the France side to take on both the Ivory Coast and South Africa.
Despite his performance this year, there was still much speculation about where he would be playing his football next season, with some believing that Arteta may still not be able to guarantee him enough playing time should he remain in north London beyond the summer transfer window, but the boss himself has now claimed that he will be playing for Arsenal next term.
“He has to come back,” the boss told RMC Sport. “He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us.”
Arteta once again defended his decision to send the centre-back out on loan this season, claiming: “If he had stayed with us this year, with a match of Premier League 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.”
I’d love to believe this decision is final, and that there isn’t to be any further negotiations to this as it definitely feels like he is ready and raring to go to help us improve. It has been daunting to believe that we could keep overlooking him despite his impressive performances, and that we could potentially push him towards the exit door if we was to continue to do just that, but it sounds as though the time has finally come for him to make his mark in north London.
Do you think Gabriel or White is most at risk of losing his place in the side to Saliba?
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