There has been much made of the fact that Mikel Arteta did not give William Saliba a chance to play for the Arsenal first team and immediately sent him back to France on loan for two more years before bringing him back to the Emirates.
The problem now is that Saliba will only have one year left on his contract at the end of this season, and there has been much speculation that the 21 year old would show his displeasure with the club by refusing to sign an extension. It doesn’t help that he was loving playing at Marseille where he was worshipped as a local hero, and neither does the rumours that Barcelona were very keen on trying to prise him off Arsenal this summer.
But now Saliba has had a long candid interview on Arsenal.com talking about his life, and it has completely persuaded me that he is a Gooner through and through, and will welcome a new contract with open arms.
He said this about growing up as an avid Arsenal fan in the Paris suburb of Bondy: “When I was growing up I watched all the Champions League games. I couldn’t watch the other games because we didn’t have all the channels, but that was the first time I watched Arsenal, in the Champions League. Then I had an Arsenal shirt when I was about seven or eight years old. I loved watching Arsenal.
“I had Henry on the back – he was the one I looked up to the most. I loved watching him. Arsene Wenger was the manager, so there were a lot of French connections with Arsenal. I remember watching the big Champions League games, against Barcelona I remember, but the other games too.”
So it must have been amazing that Arsenal came in to buy him at a very early age, and he reveals how happy he was that his dream had come true. “This is a special club,” he says. “You know that when Arsenal is interested in you, you are going to be very happy. There was no decision to make – you don’t need to make a reflection – it was an easy choice. As soon as I knew Arsenal wanted me, I wanted to come here.”
So it must have been hard for him to accept being sent away on loan straight away, but despite all the rumours of his wish to stay in France, it appears he was thinking the complete opposite. “When I was on loan it helped motivate me every day knowing that Arsenal were watching me, were in touch with me, and that soon I would be back here,”
“My objective was always to come back and play here, so I knew I had to fight and work a lot while I was away from the club if I wanted to come back.
“Somebody from the club was in touch with me every week, giving me advice, encouraging me and I knew they were supporting me, even though I was in France.
“Also having the love of the fans behind me while I was on loan was very special for me and helped me a lot. I saw some of it on social media of course, and it made it easier for me to play. I want to give the fans something back now, to thank them for their support.”
And the final proof, for me, that Saliba will definitely sign a new contract was in his closing lines…..
“Yes, now I want to win everything,” he stated. “I want to help the club to come back to the very top. I will give everything for this club to help us get back there.
“It has been hard for me as well at times at Arsenal, not playing all the time, but sometimes sport is like this. You don’t only have good moments – it’s part of life. That’s all in the past. Now I’m just focused on the present and on the future. I want to do my best for Arsenal and keep improving and working hard every day.”
so my conclusion from that is that we can expect an announcement on his new contract in the very near future.
What do you think?
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