We made right decision but William Saliba has to come back, asserts Mikel Arteta
In light of rumours over a move away, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has refuted claims that William Saliba will stay at Olympique Marseille and instead revealed that he will come back to the club. The French star spent the season on loan at Marseille and played a key role in their second-place finish.
While William Saliba signed for Arsenal to a lot of pomp and hype in the summer of 2020, the Frenchman was sent back out on loan to St-Etienne immediately. Nothing has changed since with the defender spending two more seasons out on loan without making a first-team appearance. That includes a spell at OGC Nice before he was sent out, last summer, to spend the 2021/22 season at Marseille. The latter move has worked out superbly as the 21-year-old has thrived at Marseille, making 52 appearances across all competitions.
Not only that, he won the Young Player of the Season which has sparked rumours that the defender wants to stay at the club permanently. However, Mikel Arteta has refuted the claims and admitted they “made the right decision” sending Saliba out on loan. Not only that, the Arsenal boss further made his stance clear on his future and revealed that Saliba was sent out on loan to get game-time and now “he has the experience and environment necessary to be competitive with us”.
“We made the right decision. We need him (Saliba) to come back. He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us. If he had stayed with us this year, with a match of Premier League a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn't have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that's for sure,” Arteta told RMC Sport
“For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn't have been good. William wasn't with us because he wouldn't have had the playing time to gain experience. That's it, there's nothing else."