Premier League • England

Arteta given thinking to do as fringe Arsenal man has ‘best match of career’

William Saliba, on loan from Arsenal, during Marseille's clash with Paris Saint-Germain, October 2021

Marseille’s on-loan Arsenal defender William Saliba hailed his recent performance against Paris Saint-Germain as the best of his career.

The 20-year-old moved back to his native France for the season in the summer following struggles at Arsenal. Indeed, this is his third spell back in the country since signing for the Gunners in the summer of 2019.

However, with each loan, he catches the eye more and more.

At Marseille this term, he has every minute in 10 of 11 Ligue 1 games, establishing himself as a key figure.

In his latest game on Sunday, meanwhile, he kept the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi at bay in a 0-0 draw with PSG. The capital club had won nine of 10 league games coming into France’s most high-profile rivalry.

“It was the best match of my career. It was a very, very good game,” Saliba told Le Parisien.

“After the red card we wanted to bring home the three points, we tried, but at the end even with ten men they managed to pass the ball around, they have the best players in the world.

“We have a few regrets but we’ve still come back with a solid point, it’s not that bad. We lack some efficiency.

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“We gave a good account of ourselves, we fought until the end, and because of the atmosphere it was the most beautiful match of my career.”

Saliba has endured a tough career at Arsenal since signing when Unai Emery was in charge.

The France Under-21 international admitted he did not entirely like Arteta’s treatment of him.

For his part, Arteta admitted regret at deciding to leave Saliba out of last season’s Europa League squad.

Saliba, Arsenal recall unlikely

Halil Dervisoglu battling with William Saliba

Despite his good run of form, previous reports have claimed that Arsenal are unlikely to recall Saliba.

Arsenal believe he is better staying in France, developing and earning game time under former Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli.

When he returns to north London in the summer, though, he may still struggle for game time.

Ben White has impressed alongside Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of boss Mikel Arteta’s defence. Takehiro Tomiaysu is operating at full-back, but he can also play at centre-back.

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