Arsenal

The truth behind Mikel Arteta’s decision on William Saliba and what his Arsenal future holds

William Saliba continues to impress during his loan spell at French giants Marseille.

The 20-year-old defender has yet to make a first team appearance for Arsenal, since joining the club for £27million almost three years ago.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was once again asked about the centre back in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Leicester.

Arteta refused to rule out the possibility of Saliba returning to compete with the other central defenders next season, but what is likely to happen?

“Everything is linked, obviously the amount of centre-backs we could have in the team. The issues we had in the past because of the numbers that we had and the imbalance that we had in the position.

“And because of William’s decision in his career right now, to get the minutes that he’s getting and make the progress that he’s making, we believe it was the right thing to do.

“As a club we’re always in touch, they went to see that game as well, Edu and Ben [Knapper, loan manager] was there to watch him and keep a close eye on him and the progress he’s making. Obviously, he’s our player and we do that with all the loan players we have.”

“That’s a decision we will make in the summer. He’s our player and naturally that would happen but we’ll have to sit down and decide what the best step is next.”

What has Saliba said?

“We’ve done a big start to the season, even if the three last games haven’t been positive with two losses in Ligue 1. We’re going to come back to try and win. I have been welcomed really well by my teammates and the fans.

“For me, it’s a very good choice, it’s the club I needed, with a very good pressure. At my age, it’s good to play in a stadium like that.”

What have others said?

Marseille star Dimitri Payet told L’Equipe:

“The new ones have all brought something different. After that, I am closer to younger players.

“So, the one that impresses me the most is “Willie” (Saliba).

“Considering what he’s been doing since the start of the season, I don’t understand why he hasn’t played more for Arsenal.”

What will happen next?