Premier League • England

Thierry Henry tells Arsenal what they got wrong with ‘extraordinary’ William Saliba

William Saliba during a France friendly

Thierry Henry has told his former club Arsenal that William Saliba is doing “extraordinary” things on loan at Marseille and should have been given more of a chance at the Emirates Stadium.

Saliba is still yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal despite joining the club in 2019. He has since endured loan spells with Saint-Etienne, Nice and now Marseille. They have all been productive, but particularly his current venture.

During his spell with Marseille, Saliba has made 49 appearances in all competitions. His form also earned him a senior France debut earlier this year.

Therefore, Arsenal will have a dilemma when he returns. They have relied on a centre-back partnership of Gabriel Magalhaes and Benjamin White this season, with Rob Holding as a backup.

Saliba would be an interesting option to add into the mix, but would be unlikely to settle for a bench role. Nevertheless, TEAMtalk understands he is willing to return and finally fight for his place in north London.

But that opportunity should have been afforded to him much sooner, according to someone else who used to play for Arsenal and France.

Club legend Henry believes Arsenal should have let him grow in their own squad, but is impressed with how Saliba has reacted back in his home country.

“They didn’t even let him make a mistake,” Henry told Amazon Prime of Saliba. “He left before an error.

“He didn’t even have the chance to compete for his place. What he is doing here is extraordinary. He was rewarded with a selection for the France team.

William Saliba wants to fight for his place at Arsenal

William Saliba wants his Arsenal return and is ready to fight for his place in the Arsenal back four

“Now he belongs to Arsenal, I don’t know where he will end up. We have seen that it was a little difficult for him to express himself on the subject.

“What I know is that he could have been in the Arsenal group. I am not Mikel Arteta, but I found it difficult for him. Anyway, he responded well and that’s the most important thing.”

Saliba suggests openness to Marseille stay

There is no official option to buy in the loan deal for Saliba at Marseille. However, given his form, they may be interested in returning to the negotiating table.

Saliba, 21, could therefore have a couple of options to consider. For now, he is willing to focus solely on what remains of the season for Marseille, who are second in Ligue 1 and are in the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Judging by his comments after their most recent match, Saliba would be willing to return to Marseille. But he is trying to leave on a high note in case he does not.

“My wish is to finish well, to leave on a good note in case I don’t come back anymore,” he told Amazon. “But I try not to think too much about my future, otherwise I’m less focused on the games.

“I’d be happy to come back here, no matter what. It’s Marseille, it’s my club.”

Saliba is under contract with Arsenal until 2024.

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