Emmanuel Petit has claimed that Arsenal would need to give William Saliba certain guarantees to come back and play next season.
The defender has been enjoying a key role in Marseille this term, helping his side to currently sit in the Champions League places in Ligue 1, and he has been tipped to be a part of the first-team plans in north London next term.
Similar was being said 12 months ago however, when he was on loan at Nice in the French division, but with the 20 year-old now being called up by the France national team, continuing to overlook him may become an issue.
Should Mikel Arteta look to bring him into the fold for next season, he may need to guarantee him opportunities to break up the partnership of Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White however, who formed a strong bond this term, with Petit claiming that telling him that he is wanted in the squad may not be enough.
Petit told The Arsenal Way: “Does he have the guarantee that if he comes back to Arsenal he will play every single game?
“I’m not sure about that. He’s in the first XI at Marseille, he’s playing every single game.
“If you ask him to come back to Arsenal then he’ll need guarantees: ‘After what I did for Marseille, now I’m in the national team because of my displays with Marseille every single weekend so when you ask me to come back, okay, I need guarantees, I must play, I need to keep on improving myself, I need to go step by step’.”
Petit says it will not be enough for Arteta to just say to Saliba he wants him back as part of his squad. He added: “If you tell him I want you to come back because of what you’ve done for Marseille, this is not enough for me.
“If I am Saliba, this is not enough for me because this is my career as well. ‘I’m very happy to be an Arsenal player but I want you to show me confidence, and on top of it more importantly I want you to play me, I don’t want to be on the bench’.
“White and Gabriel are very good together. If I am Saliba I am asking so many questions.”
It’s difficult to disagree with Petit’s comments. Saliba will likely be wanting a first-team role and not a bit-part role to stay in north London next term, and I’m not completely sold that we can guarantee him that.
He may well have to take the upcoming pre-season schedule as his opportunity to stake a claim for one of the two CB roles in the team, with Marseille likely to jump at the chance to sign him on another loan deal in the summer if that was deemed the best option for both the player and Arsenal, but not giving him a role next term could well be a mistake for us as he could easily grow frustrated with his lack of opportunities and trust shown thus far.
Do you think Arteta would be willing to rotate his back line next term? Will Saliba be willing to stay as back-up to White and Gabriel?