‘I don’t hide that I feel good here’: Arsenal defender William Saliba is open to extending his Marseille stay after an impressive loan spell earns him his first France call-up… but says he is ready to talk to the Gunners over his future
- William Saliba has said staying at Marseille ‘would not be a bad idea’
- The 20-year-old defender is on loan at the French club from Arsenal
- Saliba’s performances at Marseille have earned him a first call-up for France
- He says he is willing to discuss his future with the Gunners in the summer
William Saliba has hinted he may look to stay at Marseille instead of returning to Arsenal following a successful loan spell with the French club.
The highly-rated French defender signed for Arsenal from Saint-Etienne for £27million in 2019 but is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners.
Saliba’s performances for Marseille since joining the Ligue 1 outfit on loan last summer have impressed France manager Didier Deschamps, who gave the 20-year-old his first international call-up this week.
William Saliba has impressed for Marseille since joining the French club on loan from Arsenal
Saliba (centre) could make his France debut this week after receiving his first call-up
The French club are hopeful they can keep Saliba, who has just over two years left on his Arsenal contract.
Saliba, who was sent out on loan for a third time after being deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates by manager Mikel Arteta in pre-season, said remaining in Marseille ‘wouldn’t be a bad idea’ and claimed he was ready to talk to the Gunners about his future.
‘I don’t hide the fact that I feel good here but I don’t know my future,’ Saliba told RMC Sport.
‘The most important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and to go as far as possible in the Conference League.
‘I think there will be discussions afterwards, at the end of May, beginning of June, with Arsenal and Marseille. We will decide at that time.
‘But it is sure that continuing here 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.
‘We’ll see how it goes, but it also depends on Arsenal, who has to agree.’
The 20-year-old is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners since joining in 2019
Saliba, who has previously had loan spells with former club Saint Etienne and Nice, will be hoping to make his debut for France in their upcoming friendlies.
The world champions play Ivory Coast at Stade Velodrome – the home of Marseille – on Friday before welcoming South Africa to Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Tuesday.
Saliba – who turns 21 on Thursday – replaced the injured Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard in the French squad for the two matches.
‘It is a great pride to be here,’ he added. ‘I found out yesterday when I woke up. I’m very proud and happy. Since it’s my birthday week, it’s going to be very special.
‘I don’t know if I’m going to play on Friday or Tuesday, but I’m ready and I’m enjoying it.’
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