Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown is hoping that William Saliba will return to the Emirates next summer with the aim to compete with the likes of Ben White and Gabriel for a first-team place.
Saliba has impressed during his loan spell at Marseille this season and, when asked whether the defender will be in manager Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans, Keown used the example of Manchester City, who possess a number of strong centre-backs:
“You would like to think so. That needs to be the ideal situation for the manager that he has a difficult job picking that back four where. Tierney is the best left-back at the cub, but Tavares has made that a bit more difficult for the manager. It seems like Gabriel and White are the main two, but Saliba is doing exceptionally well.”
“It will be healthy if he comes back and creates competition and gives tough decisions for the manager. The top clubs have that, look at Man City with Laporte, Diaz and Stones. That’s why they are the current Premier League champions.”
Reports in recent days have suggested that Saliba is still in contact with people at London Colney and he is brushing up on his English before his expected return to the club next year.
At this stage, it seems the player is still determined to make his first-team breakthrough with the Gunners, rather than angling for a permanent move away. Hopefully, Arteta will also be convinced to keep Saliba after seeing him excel in Ligue One with Marseille.