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Mikel Arteta insists 'there is room' for William Saliba in Arsenal plans as he stars at Marseille

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William Saliba could FINALLY get his chance to fight for Arsenal spot next season as Mikel Arteta insists ‘there is room’ for the Frenchman in his Gunners plans as defender impresses on Marseille loan

  • Arsenal defender William Saliba is on-loan at Ligue 1 club Marseille this season 
  • The centre-back impressed with a commanding performance against PSG
  • Arteta revealed that Gunners chiefs Edu and Ben Knapper watched him 
  • Saliba has yet to make a first-team Arsenal appearance but that could change 


William Saliba is playing his way back into Mikel Arteta’s plans down on the French Riviera, with the Arsenal boss weighing-up the centre-back’s role next season. 

The 20-year-old is playing a crucial role at Marseille during a season-long loan at the French side, his third short-stay stint since joining Arsenal for £27m back in 2019.  

Saliba bossed PSG in a 0-0 draw between the fierce Ligue 1 rivals, with the towering, technical centre-back keeping Messi, Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria quiet – all under the watchful eye of his parent club. 

William Saliba is making waves at Marseille during his season-long loan from Arsenal

William Saliba is making waves at Marseille during his season-long loan from Arsenal 

Mikel Arteta has yet to grant Saliba his first Gunners start, believing the Frenchman isn't ready

Mikel Arteta has yet to grant Saliba his first Gunners start, believing the Frenchman isn’t ready

‘As a club we are always in touch,’ Arteta said. 

‘They went to see that game. Edu (technical director) and Ben Knapper (loan manager) were there to watch him and keep a close eye on him and the progress he is making.

‘Obviously he is our player and we do with all the loan players that we have.’

Asked if Saliba will be part of his first-team plans next season, Arteta replied: ‘That is a decision we will make in the summer. Obviously he is our player and naturally that will happen. We will have to sit down and decide what the next step is next.

The towering centre-back contained Kylian Mbappe and Co in a 0-0 draw with giants PSG

The towering centre-back contained Kylian Mbappe and Co in a 0-0 draw with giants PSG 

Arsenal's technical director, Edu, visited the Stade Velodrome to watch the defender play

Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, visited the Stade Velodrome to watch the defender play 

‘I think there is room (for Saliba alongside Ben White and Gabriel). Again, it will depend on what happens with other players and that’s not a conversation to have now.’

Saliba has pulled on a red shirt of Arsenal’s under-23 team but has yet to appear for the first-team in more than two years at the club. 

The six-foot-four defender was loaned straight back to Saint-Etienne after joining in 2019, but stayed in north London for the start of the 2020-21 season. 

Gooners expected him to play a key role but as the match-days went by, there was no sign of the Frenchman. 

Saliba was made to wait in Arsenals' under-23 side before moving to Nice in January last year

Saliba was made to wait in Arsenals’ under-23 side before moving to Nice in January last year

He was linked with a permanent move out of London in January but instead was sent on-loan to Nice, saying: ”He judged me on two-and-a-half games. I would have liked for him [Arteta] to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready.

Ahead of Saliba’s third loan move to Marseille, Arteta said: ‘And now he needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well. And in order to do that I think we found the right club with him.

‘He’s very happy to got there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.’

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