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William Saliba has explained why he decided to leave Arsenal on loan for a third time this season.
Saliba joined the Gunners in a £27million transfer from Saint-Etienne in 2019 but has spent the vast majority of time in France since then.
The 20-year-old defender is yet to make a single appearance for his parent club, instead spending time on loan with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille.
Many thought Saliba could breakthrough into Mikel Arteta’s side this summer after David Luiz’s departure and a strong half-campaign with Nice.
However, the Gunners spent £50m to buy Ben White from Brighton, blocking Saliba’s path to the first team.
Arsenal therefore made the young centre-back available for a third successive loan spell, with Saliba choosing Marseille ahead of Newcastle, Lille and a return to Nice.
Marseille have made a mixed start to the Ligue 1 season and sit in fifth place after eight matches, but having played seven of those games Saliba is happy with his choice.
“We made a big start to the season, even if the last three games were not positive with two defeats in Ligue 1,” he toldL’Equipe.
What should Arsenal do with William Saliba? Have your say in the comments section below.
“We will come back to try to win. I was very well received by my team-mates, the supporters.
“For me, it's a very good choice, it's the right club, with very good pressure. At my young age, it's good to play in a stadium like this.”
Saliba’s fitness coach Nicolas St. Maurice recently explained his client’s thoughts with regards to joining Marseille on loan for the 2021/22 season.
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"William is humble and smart. Arsenal fans are annoyed right now because he’s not at the club and he’s doing really well in Marseille, but I think last season he missed some games on top of COVID,” he toldfootball.london.
“Saliba needs to play more and he will come good. He does not want to come to Arsenal and sit on the bench, that's not his mentality, he wants to be playing for Arsenal."
Despite his lack of progress at Arsenal, Saliba remains highly thought of in his native country.
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The centre-back was part of France’s squad at the Tokyo Olympic Games and is playing for the country’s Under-21s during the current international break.
Having played in front of Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier during their 5-0 win over Ukraine on Friday, Saliba will play once again against Serbia on Tuesday.
- Ligue 1
- Arsenal FC
- Mikel Arteta
- Marseille FC
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