William Saliba’s “extraordinary” season analysed by Marseille man as the highly-rated defender gets set for transfer talks over Arsenal future this summer
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Marseille president Pablo Longoria has thanked Arsenal for sending William Saliba out on loan last season as they try and negotiate a permanent switch for the highly-rated defender.
The 21-year-old has impressed at the French club, making 52 appearances across all competitions and was also awarded with the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for his efforts. However, Saliba is now set to return to the Gunners for the start of the 2022/23 season.
Les Phocéens have other ideas, though, and are hoping to keep the France international permanently. Longoria admitted he already knows the “possibilities” behind Saliba’s contract and added he is hoping to open talks with the Gunners as they try and sign the centre-back.
Longoria told RMC Sports : “We had a lot of conversations analysing William Saliba’s season, especially in the last few days. He’s coming off an extraordinary season, with one of the highest number of matches played in Europe.
“He also joined the France team, which is incredible at his age. We discussed a lot internally about what we can do, to find out what the possibilities are.
“We respect his club, we have to thank Arsenal. It’s a friendly club that helped us a lot during the last transfer window. We have very good relations.
“We have to talk to each other, see if there is the possibility of reaching an agreement between the clubs, there is the player’s will, the club’s will… But above all, we must respect Arsenal.”
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Arsenal could be looking to strengthen their back-line in the summer following the sale of Calum Chambers to Aston Villa, which has left Gabriel, Ben White and Rob Holding as their only three first-team defenders. But they have already got a ready-made one at the club in Saliba, who has gone on to make over 100 senior appearances now.
He is yet to play a first-team game for Arsenal, but Arteta wants him to return to the club despite permanent interest from Marseille. “He has to come back,” Arteta told RMC.
“He has the experience to be competitive with us. We sent him to Marseille for his growth. William wanted to be a regular starter as you know but now we want him back at Arsenal.”
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