What William Saliba and Mikel Arteta have said amid Marseille transfer ‘meeting’

William Saliba continues to be linked with a move away from Arsenal, but Mikel Arteta appears to value the defender.

William Saliba continues to be linked with a move away from Arsenal.

The defender is still yet to see Premier League football at the Emirates Stadium following his 2019 arrival, completing three separate loan spells.

Saliba spent last season on loan with Marseille, impressing at the Ligue 1 club to the degree he is wanted on a permanent basis.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Marseille chief Pablo Longoria has already visited London to discuss a possible move with the defender’s agent.

Though, Mikel Arteta appears to have Saliba firmly in his plans for the new season.

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“I am really pleased to see the way he is playing, the way he has adapted to the team, the maturity that he’s shown at 21 years old; carry on doing it,” Arteta said after the pre-season win over Chelsea.

“We will keep developing him, he has a huge potential, he is already a top player and we have to make him even better.

”He looked ready to me today.”

Saliba has been pretty clear in what he wants, speaking back in April, he said: “They’re in contact with my agent [Djibril Niang].

“They send me messages. They watch my games. They tell me I need to carry on like this. I haven’t played a lot with the Gunners. The manager [Mikel Arteta] made his choice, that’s life. I left on loan, I’m playing a lot of matches and thanks to my performances, I’ve become a full international.

The Frenchman joined Arsenal in the summer of 2019 but has spent most of his time at the club on loan in his homeland. He played 51 times for Marseille last term, could this finally be the campaign he makes his mark for the Gunners?

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“What happened to me has seen me forge a stronger mentality. It’s not because you cost €30m that you’re going to play. I see things positively. Even if there are moments where you ask yourself questions. For six months, I could see I was the only one in the squad that wasn’t playing, that would hurt.”

Asked about the possibility of playing a supplamentary role this coming season, he added: “I definitely can’t settle for being on the bench at Arsenal and being happy [with it].

“I want to be a starter. But then if I do get into the rotation as a substitute, it wouldn’t be like staying with the U23 and never being in the team.”

Asked about a return to Marseille back then, he said: “This club and these fans are amazing so I want to make the most of it until the end of the season, as though I’m not coming back.

“There are two months left, I want to savour each moment, notably in home games. Then, we’ll see. If I do come back, it’ll be with the greatest of pleasure.”