Mikel Arteta sends clear message to William Saliba about his Arsenal future

Mikel Arteta says that William Saliba is firmly in his first-team plans for next season following his return to Arsenal from his loan spell at Marseille

William Saliba Arsenal
William Saliba (Photo: Arsenal Media / YouTube / Screengrab)

Mikel Arteta has declared that William Saliba is in his first-team plans for next season following the French defender’s return to Arsenal.

Saliba has spent the last three seasons on loan to three different French clubs, and earned lots of praise for his performances for Marseille last term as he helped them to finish second in Ligue 1.

The 21-year-old has now linked up with the Arsenal squad for their pre-season tour of the United States and he played 71 minutes of the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Everton on Sunday morning.

Saliba is likely to be keen to force his way into contention for a starting spot in the heart of Arsenal’s defence next season as he looks to help the Gunners challenge for a top-four finish.

Although Arteta says that he cannot guaranteed a starting spot to anyone in his squad, he also revealed that the French defender is firmly in his plans for next season.

As quoted by Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Arteta said: “William Saliba is in the plans, I’m excited to see him.

“We can’t guarantee first-team football to anybody in this team but the ones we really see and think are going to take us to the next level, they’re going to be playing a lot of minutes.”

Arteta also revealed his delight at the way Saliba performed against Everton in Baltimore as the defender helped the Gunners to keep a clean sheet in the pre-season win.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Arteta said of Saliba: “He was really good. I think he played a really good game, he looked really composed, straight away from day one he looked completely focussed, he’s evolved the way we wanted and today I think he had a great performance.”

Saliba, who came through the AS Bondy youth system, made his senior international debut for France this year and has been capped five times in total since then. He made 36 league appearances for Marseille last term as they finished as runners-up behind PSG in Ligue 1.

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