Arsenal defender William Saliba has emphasised that he holds no ill will towards manager Mikel Arteta despite some issues since the Spaniard joined the Gunners.
The Frenchman was out on loan at Saint-Etienne when Arteta was first appointed. When the end of the campaign was delayed during the height of the first virus outbreak, Saliba wanted to remain in France so he could play in the French Cup final against PSG. However, his loan deal had expired and no extension was granted. He returned to London and was asked to train with the Under 23s before being sent to Nice midway through the 2020/21 season. Saliba says that, while things were difficult, he did “respect” the decision that Arteta made:
“I was going to play the Coupe de France (with Saint-Etienne, his former club)… Then I returned. I trained for two weeks on my own. We chained 2-3 friendly matches but I had to regain my physical condition. The championship followed quickly and the coach felt that I was not ready. I respect his decision.”
Saliba did also speak about his future, but he was pretty non-committal in addressing whether he would like to stay at Marseille or return to the Emirates.
With Calum Chambers having been sold to Aston Villa, and Pablo Mari unlikely to play for the club again either, there is a good chance that Saliba will be given first-team opportunities next season.