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Despite producing this excellent campaign, rumours have circulated that the 21-year-old could still be on his way out of North London and that he favours a move back to the south of France.
Scepticism around Arteta’s belief in the Frenchman’s ability has been prominent in the discourse around the player, but the Arsenal manager is insistent that he would like him to return to the club for next season.
“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.”
Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 for £28 million when he was just 18. Since then, he’s enjoyed three successive loan spells in France, including a year back at Saint-Etienne and six months at Nice.
He now enters the last two years of his five-year deal at Arsenal without having played a competitive minute for the club.
Speaking to RMC in early 2021, Saliba bemoaned Arteta’s judgement on him, saying he’d made his mind up after two and a half matches.
“I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready,” he said.
After a 52 appearance season at Marseille, and successive French national team call-ups, the time for him in North London could be now.
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