Marseille coach makes William Saliba desire clear as Arsenal face transfer decision

The Arsenal defender has impressed on-loan in Ligue 1 with Marseille and his adoptive boss has already expressed his desire to keep the Frenchman beyond the end of the current season

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  • 09:23, 13 May 2022
  • Updated10:54, 13 May 2022
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Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli has expressed his "hope" over keeping Arsenal defender William Saliba beyond the end of the season.


The Frenchman joined the Ligue 1 side at the start of the season by signing a loan deal until the end of the campaign. The former Saint-Etienne man has impressed in his home country throughout the season.

The 21-year-old has made 50 appearances in all competitions under Sampaoli so far and has played a key role in the French side’s run to the Europa Conference League semi-finals, whilst Les Olympiens are currently occupying second in the Ligue 1 standings with just two matches of the season remaining.

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With his loan deal set to expire in just a few weeks’ time, Sampaoli has praised Saliba’s development throughout the campaign, whilst also expressing his desire to keep the defender at the Stade Velodrome.

He said: “William’s progress is linked to his development this season and the maturity he now has and his playing time. He is now consistent, he’s grown up as a player.

“In relation to his situation at the club, I hope that there is a possibility for us to retain a player like him, who knows the team. But I don’t know if it depends on OM, William or Arsenal, I don’t know the possibilities in this case.”

William Saliba has impressed during his loan spell with Marseille. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

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Saliba, 21, joined Arsenal in the summer of 2019 but is yet to make his debut for the north London side. He has embarked on three separate loan deals since then, with the north London side now facing a decision over his future.

The Frenchman has just two years remaining on his current Gunners deal with the defender suggesting that talks are set to be held concerning whether he will be handed an opportunity in the first-team in north London or alternatively move on.

Speaking to RMC Sport earlier this season, Saliba said: “I’ve never hidden the fact that I feel good here [at Marseille]. But I don’t know my future.

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“There are two months left [of the season] and the most important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and to go as far as possible in the [Europa] Conference League.

“I think there will be discussions between Arsenal and Marseille at the end of May or the beginning of June. That’s when we will decide.

“For sure, though, staying here [with Marseille] would not be a bad idea. On the contrary. I know the city, my team-mates, my coach… but it’s not just up to me.”

Ironically, Arsenal could do with the services of the Frenchman at the current time having seen their centre-back options dwindle. Ben White has been struggling with injury recently, whilst both Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes were withdrawn in the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur through a sending off and injury respectively.

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