Noel Whelan is convinced that William Saliba will return to Arsenal as a better version of himself.
He is currently thriving while on loan at Olympique Marseille, where he has impressed against opponents like Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
The defender hasn’t kicked a ball for Arsenal’s senior team since he joined the club, but former Leeds man, Whelan is convinced that Saliba will return to Arsenal as a much better player and he would become a key member of the first team at the Emirates.
He told Football Insider: “He will absolutely have a part to play for Arsenal.
“If he didn’t, then they’d have sold them. The fact that he’s out on loan tells me that it’s more about progression, getting that character and the experience.
“It’s a really bold move for him to go back to the league he started in. He’s showing his mental strength by continuing his progression out in that league.
“He will come back to Arsenal a better player, in better shape with more experience.
“That’s what these loan spells are all about. In some ways they are a test, Arsenal will be keeping tabs on him and making sure he is progressing.
“Saliba is still in the plans at Arsenal and he will get his opportunity.”
Just Arsenal opinion
If Saliba returns to the Emirates a better player, he would have proven Mikel Arteta right.
The Spanish manager has maintained that the Frenchman needs more first-team exposure to be ready to play for Arsenal.
He is now getting that at Marseille and the Gunners would reap the rewards from next season.
The depth of options at the back will help Arsenal to compete with other Premier League clubs next season.
Saliba will get his chance and it would be interesting to see if he can usurp Ben White to become the first choice right-footed centre back at the Emirates.