Saliba ‘not thinking’ of Arsenal return after being ‘nobody’ at club

Dan Butterfield
Marseille defender William Saliba

Arsenal defender William Saliba, who is currently on loan at Marseille, has admitted he isn’t thinking of a return to his parent club right now.

The Frenchman joined the Gunners in 2019 for £27 million but is yet to make his debut for the club and has spent time on loan with Saint-Etienne, Nice and now, Marseille.

Every Premier League club’s worst moment of 2021

The defender has impressed in Ligue 1 this season and whilst Arsenal fans have taken notice ahead of his return, Saliba has admitted he is only thinking about Marseille.

Speaking to Eurosport France, Saliba said: “I’m on loan, but I pretend I’m there for many years. I’m not thinking about returning to Arsenal [right now]. I give myself to Marseille. I don’t think about what will happen afterwards.”

The 20-year-old also opened up on his time in north-London, admitting there were times where he felt he was a nobody at the club.

“There are hard times. I hadn’t played a game for six months.

“You have to fight in a career. We must take that as a lesson to go further. It gave me a little slap to say: ‘You are nobody!’ You can be bought for 30 million euros, arrive in a club and we put you aside.

“I took this experience by being positive. I feed on it. I know what it’s like not to play for six months. Today, I want to play every game. It puts the ideas back in place. Before arriving at Arsenal, I said to myself: ‘Who am I going to play with?’ And then you are not even in the group in the Premier League.

“It is not a direct message. But since I didn’t play for six months, that I had a hard time, I wanted to show that I had the capacity to play at this club. I do it for myself first. It’s not revenge.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was asked earlier this season if there was a place for Saliba to return to the Arsenal fold, but was coy in his response.

“I think there is room. It will depend on what happens with other players and that’s not a conversation to have now.

“As a club we are always in touch. Edu and Ben were there to watch him [against PSG] and keep a close eye on the progress he’s making.”