Although the focus is mainly on new signings at Arsenal this summer, anticipation over the return of William Saliba remains.
The Frenchman is currently on his third loan spell since joining the club for around £27m in 2019 and still awaiting a senior appearance for the Gunners.
Viewed as one of the most talented young defenders in Europe, Mikel Arteta has faced plenty of criticism over his decision to loan out the 21-year-old, with many believing he already has what it takes to be a valuable first-team member.
A number of Man of the Match and Player of the Month awards have topped off a strong campaign for Saliba at Marseille this season, further highlighting the clear talent and potential he possesses.
As the summer transfer window approaches, uncertainty over his future is failing to go away, with both the player and Marseille president Pablo Longoria hinting a stay in France could be on the cards.
“For the player’s owning club – Arsenal, the player, and Olympique de Marseille. We have to see our possibilities. He is very good here, we are very satisfied with his performance.”
“William [Saliba] is one of the best young defenders I’ve seen in my career. After all, everything depends on the three parties. It’s a matter of market value. But we have extraordinary relations with Arsenal.”
London understands William Saliba’s representative will meet with Arsenal technical director Edu in the coming weeks to discuss his future, but the player himself has made it clear that a return to Marseille is very possible.
“It would be my pleasure to come back no matter what, it’s not as if I know I’m not going to come back, it’s Marseille, it’s my club,” Saliba told Amazon Prime.
Amongst all of the uncertainty, Arteta can still take valuable lessons away from Saliba’s loan spell, especially if the France international looks to prove himself in north London next season.
Despite making clear progress over the past two years, Saliba has plenty of room left to improve, after all, he’s still very young.
Following a poor performance in Marseille’s 3-0 home defeat to Lyon yesterday, the former Saint-Etienne man was questioned for his lack of awareness when Moussa Dembele scored for the visitors, with GFFN pointing out the main area of Saliba’s game which must be improved on.
Tracking clever movement on crosses is still a weakness in his defending.
This example is one of many that have occurred over the course of the season, and that’s not to distract you from the fact Saliba has done very well overall, but it’s a reminder that he still has a lot to learn if he is to be a success in England.