Arteta insists Saliba 'has to come back' to Arsenal after impressive Marseille loan

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William Saliba Marseille 2021-22 Getty/GOAL

Mikel Arteta says William Saliba must return to Arsenal this summer despite expressing his desire to stay at loan club Marseille.

Saliba has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Gunners since signing for the club from Saint-Etienne in 2019, spending time out on loan back at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, as well as Nice and most recently Marseille.

An impressive campaign at the Stade Velodrome helped the club qualify for the Champions League and Saliba is desperate to return to play in the competition next campaign – but Arteta has other ideas.

What did Arteta say about Saliba’s future?

Marseille secured second place in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League, but Arsenal will have to make do with Europa League football next season after a late slump saw them finish fifth in the Premier League behind rivals Tottenham.

Despite Saliba’s stellar season in France, which included a Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year nod and a maiden call up to the France national team, Arteta has no regrets about sending the 21-year-old out on loan again.

The Arsenal boss is adamant that the centre-half would not have had regular first-team opportunities had he stayed in north London, but he is planning to include him in his set-up for 2022-23.

“We made the right decision," Arteta has told RMC Sport. "He has to come back. He has the experience necessary to be competitive with us.

“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League match a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn't have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that's for sure.

“For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn't have been good. William wasn't with us because he wouldn't have had the playing time to gain experience. That's it, there's nothing else."

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