William Saliba completes Marseille loan deal with Arsenal return most optimistic it has been – Tom Canton

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William Saliba completes Marseille loan deal with Arsenal return most optimistic it has been - Tom Canton

William Saliba’s loan with Marseille has effectively come to a close. The young French defender played what will be his final competitive match of the season for Marseille as he is suspended for the final Ligue 1 match against Strasbourg.

The game has significance for Marseille after their 2-0 loss to Rennes. This meant should they lose on the final day and Les Rouge et Noir beat Lille, who have nothing to play for, the Arsenal loanees’ side will drop out of the Champions League qualification places.

Saliba’s future has continued to be in the balance throughout his time in France. His relationship with his parent club has not been an encouraging one.

READ MORE: William Saliba given Arsenal masterclass by Rob Holding playing Mikel Arteta’s selection game

That said, it appears as his loan with OM concludes that this is the most hopeful period that a future with Arsenal will be the next step. A report by La Provence via Sport Witness has claimed that Arsenal are planning next season with Saliba in their team.

Even going as far as to say they are ‘counting on him.’ This is the type of encouragement that Saliba has been looking for after being told by Mikel Arteta that he wasn’t ready prior to his loan spells with Nice and Marseille.

This revelation makes sense however considering in one of the 20-year-old’s most recent interviews he spoke of being more open to a rotational role. It was clear his stint in the youth team was an experience he didn’t want to repeat.

“They are often in contact with my agent,” Saliba said. “They send me messages. They watch my matches. They tell me to continue like this. I haven’t played much with the Gunners. The coach made his choices, that’s life. I left on loan, I played matches, and, thanks to my performances, I became a [senior] international.

“What happened to me helped forge a mental toughness. You don’t play just because you cost €30million. I take it positively. Even if there are times when you ask yourself questions. For six months, I saw that I was the only one in the group not to play, it hurt.

“I’m sure I can’t just be on the bench at Arsenal and be happy. I want to play as a starter. Afterwards, if I come into the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like staying with the Under-23s and never being in the squad.”

With Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, the established pairing, it was unrealistic to expect to break straight into the Arsenal starting eleven. However, with European football confirmed for next season, opportunities in rotation are expected.

Saliba has been one of the best centre-halves in Ligue 1 this season. His quality would add plenty of depth that is perhaps not provided by Rob Holding or Pablo Mari.

At the critical part of Saliba’s Arsenal career, if it can be called that at present, the evidence looks positive regarding a Gunners stay. That said, Marseille are still very keen on striking deal for Saliba to return next season but face financial difficulty coming up with the asking price.

Source by Football London

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