Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that William Saliba will return to the north London side next season and will be part of his first-team plans.
Saliba has not played for Arsenal since arriving in north London for £25m in the summer of 2019 – but developed in a loan at Marseille last season and won Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.
“He has to come back,” Arteta said in an interview with RMC Sport.
“He has the experience and the necessary environment to be competitive with us.”
“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the game time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure.”
“In terms of his growth and what he could do next year, it wouldn’t have been good. William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time required to gain experience. That’s it, nothing else.”
The 21-year-old defender was a constant presence in the Marseille team this season, notching up 36 Ligue 1 appearances for the French club and also featuring 15 times in the cup competitions for the French side.