William Saliba admits his move to Marseille is “what he needed” after agreeing with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for sending him out on loan again.
The centre-half joined the French side until the end of the season over the summer. It is his third temporary switch away from the Emirates since he joined the Gunners for £30million in 2019.
The talented defender was looking to fight for a starting spot in Arteta’s side this season. However, the north London giants decided to complete £50m and £20m deals for Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu respectively instead.
That lead to Arteta sending Saliba to the south of France for more regular first-team football.
And Saliba, who has still to make a competitive appearance for the Gunners, now concedes that the Spaniard made the right call.
He told L’Equipe: “We’ve done a big start to the season, even if the three last games haven’t been positive with two losses in Ligue 1. We’re going to come back to try and win. I have been welcomed really well by my teammates and the fans.
“For me, it’s a very good choice, it’s the club I needed, with a very good pressure. At my age, it’s good to play in a stadium like that.”
Arteta explained that the decision to loan out Saliba was the best for his development. He also insists that the youngster is still a part of the club’s long-term plans.
He said: “He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us. Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision.
“I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.
“But a lot of things have happened to him he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.
“For him, he needs much more than that, because what happened in the last 18 months, he’s been through some personal problems as well that we have to try to help him and stay as close as possible to him.
“And now he needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well. And in order to do that I think we found the right club with him.
“He’s very happy to go there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”
Arteta talks up Sevilla striker
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has reportedly spoken to the Arsenal board about signing Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri in January as the manager seeks further improvement to his side.
The Gunners spent big in the summer transfer window, bringing in six new players. Defender Ben White was their most expensive acquisition, with the north Londoners paying Brighton £52.65m. Midfielder Martin Odegaard and Albert Sambi Lokonga arrived but the Spaniard did not purchase an out-and-out striker.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently leads the line and has scored five goals to date in 2021-2022. However, only two of those have come in the Premier League.
And that has been Arsenal’s main problem. The Emirates outfit have notched only five in seven top-flight outings this term.
Those goals have come from three games, with Arteta’s charges drawing a blank on four occasions. It seems as though he is keen to so something about it and wants a new striker in the winter window.
Arsenal have been linked with the Morocco international for some time. But they are not the only English club with their eyes on the former Leganes hitman.
West Ham were mentioned in connection with the 24-year-old last summer as David Moyes searched for a new striker. Sevilla have slapped a hefty £38.5m price tag on the African and it is unclear whether he will be allowed to leave mid season.
En-Nesyri in demand
Arsenal have doubts over the future of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah. Aubameyang still has an eye for goal but cannot go on for ever.
Therefore a move for En-Nesyri makes sense. He scored 18 LaLiga goals last season and 24 in all competitions for Los Nervionenses.
And the man from Fez has already struck three times in the Spanish top flight this season. Unsurprisingly, other clubs are also watching the marksman.
ABC Sevilla (via Sport Witness), are suggesting that the Gunners are among six clubs who are monitoring his progress. The one drawback for any interested party is the fact that En-Nesyri appears happy in his present surroundings.
He still has four years of his current deal to run and is said to be looking forward to an ‘exciting and ideal season’.