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William Saliba’s baffled former centre-back partner tells Arsenal what they’re missing


William Saliba is in the early stages of a season-long loan with Marseille after failing to convince Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta he is ready for Premier League action

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Mikel Arteta opens up on William Saliba’s loan move away from Arsenal

William Saliba’s former Saint-Etienne teammate has criticised Mikel Arteta’s decision to let the centre-back join Marseille on loan this season.

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Loic Perrin partnered Saliba as he emerged from the academy ranks and he insists the “calm” and “lucid” defender “could have given something to Arsenal “.

Saliba has received rave reviews since his temporary move to Marseille, which comes after he spent the second half of last season at Nice.

The Frenchman is yet to make his senior debut for Arsenal despite arriving at the Emirates for £27million in 2019, with Mikel Arteta not convinced he is ready for Premier League action.

William Saliba has shone this season since joining Marseille on loan
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Perrin sees things very differently, declaring Saliba has “extraordinary” qualities and a cool head in one-on-one situations and heated atmospheres.

“I don’t understand how they didn’t even try him at least once,” Perrin told Eurosport as he questioned Saliba’s snubs at Arsenal.

“When you observe him since his beginnings at Saint-Etienne… He’s calm, cold, lucid. In one-on-one situations, he’s got extraordinary footing and always gets out of it.

“Furthermore, he’s a great kid to have in a group. At Nice, after many months without playing, he was good immediately when Nice were in bad form.

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“And at Marseille, in a crazy atmosphere, same thing. He doesn’t get carried away. He could have given something to Arsenal.”

Perrin’s praise for his former colleague comes after Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli lauded the youngster for his steadfast performances.

“He’s a top player at his position,” said the Argentine of Saliba, per RMC Sport . “We were lucky to get him on loan, it wasn’t simple.

“He’s great at marking, but good bringing the ball out too. He’s a future great of French football, he’s very good at starting plays.

Did Arsenal make a mistake letting William Saliba depart on loan? Have your say in the comments.

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“He’s adapted to a three at the back well, and his performances are linked to the team’s, which likes to play from the back.”

Saliba has played the full 90 minutes in all seven of Marseille’s games this season, helping them keep three consecutive clean sheets in Ligue 1.

This run of form leaves the French giants second in the table, but Sampaoli is not getting carried away with dreams of silverware just yet.

“It will depend on the evolution of the team, if this team does not evolve, it will be difficult for us,” said Sampaoli as he rated Marseille’s trophy chances.

“We also need to see how this team handles difficult situations, because there will be obstacles to overcome at various stages of the season.

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“At that point, I will find out more about my players.”

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