The French defender has linked with Marseille on loan, but only after the Gunners tried to strike a deal that would keep him in England
William Saliba admits he ignored Arsenal transfer advice when he “pushed and pushed” for a loan transfer to Marseille.
The much-loved defender will spend the 2021-22 campaign in his homeland after seeing a one-season deal put in place – after spending a few months with Nice last season.
Those at Emirates Stadium were anxious to see the 20-year-old stay in England, as they sought to unleash his full potential, but those calls have fallen on deaf ears.
What was said?
Saliba said Provence after being officially unveiled in Marseille: “I chatted with Pablo [Longoria], with the manager.
“I knew this is where I was going to play this season, with a stadium on fire and fans expecting a lot. For a 20-year-old, that can only do me good.
“I chose Marseille. Arsenal preferred that I go to England, but I knew it was the right choice. I pushed and pushed for that.
“Marseille are one of the best clubs in France, with a lot of fervor in the city and in the countryside. You have to sweat for the jersey when you’re here.”
Did Saliba play for Arsenal?
Arsenal put together a £ 27million ($ 38million) deal for Saliba in the summer of 2019, with which he agreed he would stay at Saint-Etienne for another season.
Once this loan agreement was concluded, the promising Frenchman traveled to north London.
Great things were expected of him, with the Gunners needing some inspiration from the middle half from somewhere, but Mikel Arteta favored other options.
Saliba is still awaiting a competitive debut for Arsenal, having only appeared in Under-23 games so far, and has seen 22 outings for Nice after teaming up with them in January.
He is now looking to continue his development at Marseille, but he remains under contract at Emirates Stadium until 2024 and could still make a breakthrough there at some point.