William Saliba was hoping to fight for his place in Arsenal’s side this year and was disappointed he wasn’t given a chance as he was sent out on another loan spell to Marseille
William Saliba admits his move to Marseille is “what he needed” as he agrees with Mikel Arteta for sending him out loan.
The centre-half joined the French side in the summer until the end of the season which is his third short-term spell since arriving at the Emirates in 2019 for £30million.
The defender was hoping to fight for his place in the Gunners side this year and was disappointed he wasn’t given a chance.
Keeping hold of Saliba seemed the obvious choice as Arsenal were in desperate need of reinforcements at the back, but the north London club signed Ben White for £50m and Takehiro Tomiyasu on Deadline Day for £20m instead.
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Was it the wrong decision to send William Saliba out on loan to Marseille? Comment below
Arteta couldn’t guarantee Saliba regular playing time and insisted that’s what he needed at this moment in time as he moved to the south of France.
But Saliba, who has yet to make a competitive appearance for Arsenal, now concedes that the Spaniard made the right call as he continues to thrive in Ligue 1.
He told L’Equipe “We’ve done a big start to the season, even if the three last games haven’t been positive with two losses in Ligue 1. We’re going to come back to try and win. I have been welcomed really well by my teammates and the fans.
“For me, it’s a very good choice, it’s the club I needed, with a very good pressure. At my age, it’s good to play in a stadium like that.”
Arteta explained that the decision to loan out Saliba was the best for his development and insists he is still a part of the club’s long-term plans.
He said: “He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us. Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision.
“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.
“But a lot of things have happened to him he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.
“For him, he needs much more than that, because what happened in the last 18 months, he’s been through some personal problems as well that we have to try to help him and stay as close as possible to him.
“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 go there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”
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Arsenal director of football Edu echoed those sentiments after Saliba completed the switch to Marseille.
He added: “Together with William, we have decided it will be good for his continued development to spend another season on loan. William joined us as an 18-year-old, and he is still only 20, so he is still developing all the time.
“William is a player with strong natural ability and next season has the potential to be really beneficial for him at Marseille, a good club.
“To play another season in Ligue 1 will be very important for his development. We will of course be keeping in close contact with William during the season and wish him all the best in France with Marseille.”