Premier League • England

Arsenal transfer rethink ‘out of the question’ as stern Arteta message sent

William Saliba, Kerem Akturkoglu September 2021

Arsenal will not recall defender William Saliba early from his loan transfer at Marseille, despite his strong form, a report has claimed.

Saliba signed for the Gunners under Unai Emery in 2019, but he has enjoyed his time away from the club more. In fact, he has yet to make an appearance for the club, amid the change in manager to Mikel Arteta.

The 20-year-old has instead spent time back on loan at former club Saint-Etienne.

He also moved to Nice last January and is now at Marseille. This season, he his helping drive a push for Champions League football.

Indeed, Saliba has played all but one of 10 Ligue 1 matches so far this term, with Marseille third.

His form has caught the eye in France and across Europe. According to Telefoot journalist Julien Maynard, though, Arsenal recalling him remains ‘out of the question’.

The Gunners have turned a corner under Arteta following a shaky start to the season. Defensive summer signings Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have proved crucial in that turnaround.

Defensive stability has also helped. White, Tomiyasu, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney have played in the back four four league games in a row.

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Should Saliba return to Arsenal, he would struggle to find a place in Arteta’s plans.

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.

Nevertheless, both parties have moved on and the defender is loving the coaching of Marseille and former Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli. In fact, he revealed that he is developing fantastically.

Saliba enjoying Arsenal loan spell

Halil Dervisoglu battling with William Saliba

“[Pablo] Longoria (Marseille president) told me that if I wanted to reach the next level in my progression, I had to come here,” the centre-back said.

“If you can perform at Marseille, to play under this pressure, you can play anywhere else.

“I hadn’t even signed yet and I was already getting messages from supporters. I’ve never seen passion like this, in this town the only thing that matters in OM!

“With Sampaoli, we have to give it our all from start to finish. We can’t do things half-heartedly. Sometimes I don’t put enough power on my passes and he tells me: “those are kids’ passes!”

Marseille’s next fixture sees them face Lazio in the Europa League group stages on Thursday.

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