Arsenal missing out on Champions League could affect Saliba’s future after Marseille vow | Soccer | sport
William Saliba says he hopes to play in the Champions League for Marseille next season after the on-loan Arsenal centre-back helped the French club take second place in Ligue 1 this season.
The Frenchman signed for Arsenal in a £27m deal from St Etienne in 2019. However, he has yet to play a competitive game for the club on three separate loans in France, first to St Etienne before separate stays in Nice and now in Marseille.
His Marseille were the most productive of the three with the centre-half winning the Young Player of the Year award and receiving a call-up to play for the national team.
Speaking to reporters after watching the Olympians’ 4-0 success against Strasbourg, Saliba said: “I want to come back and play in the Champions League. I’ve never played there before and I want to experience it here.
With Tottenham needing only a draw against basement club Norwich to secure fourth place, it seems highly unlikely that Arsenal will find themselves playing Champions League football next season. So for Saliba, Marseille offers the best chance to test himself at this level.
Arsenal also loaned Matteo Guendouzi to the French club and he encouraged Saliba to stay at Marseille. While the midfielder is technically still an Arsenal player, he has a buy option on his loan deal which he is very likely to accept. Like Saliba, he also managed to work his way into the France squad while at the club.
Speaking earlier in the week, he said: ‘I hope William stays here. He is having a great season, he deserves everything that has happened to him. He’s a great guy and he’s played a lot of games.
There are rumors of a rift between Saliba and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard kicked him out of his Premier League squad in 2020, forcing the 21-year-old to spend six months playing with him. those under 23 years old.
Saliba recently spoke to Pro-Direct Soccer France about his move to Arsenal. He said: “Being sent back to the academy was shocking at first. You say to yourself ‘a transfer of 30 million pounds and all that, people are waiting for you to come’. and then you find yourself playing against players your own age. It shocked me at first, I didn’t even want to play.
“It was an experience that taught me a lot, and I came out of it bigger and much stronger.”
Arteta, Saliba and Arsenal fans are hoping for a quick and amicable solution to the situation. If none are found, it could become an issue that dominates the narrative surrounding Arsenal’s summer transfer window.