Returning from his loan to Marseille, William Saliba started in Arsenal’s victory against Everton (2-0) in a friendly, on the night of Saturday to Sunday. Mikel Arteta recalled that he was counting on the French defender for the coming season.
It hadn’t happened to him since August 25, 2020. For the first time in two years, William Saliba played a match with Arsenal . Returning from a one-season loan to OM, he started on the night of Saturday to Sunday to face Everton (2-0) in a friendly, near Baltimore (United States).
Associated with former Lille Gabriel, he spent 70 minutes on the pitch before giving way to Spaniard Pablo Mari, who was also on loan last year, at Udinese. Well noted in the English press after this first meeting of the season, Saliba also received compliments from Mikel Arteta.
“He’s a real talent”
“He was really good, it’s a very good game from him. He’s calm, focused and he plays the way we want. He gave an excellent performance,”said Mikel Arteta
He made an update on the future of the young French central defender (21 years old).
“We are all delighted to see him play. He is a real talent and he showed last season what he can do. But in football what matters is what you do the next day. you did three months ago doesn’t really matter. The time he spent abroad has boosted his confidence. I think he has improved in many areas, because that he played an incredible number of minutes last year, playing at a very good level. Now he has to show,”Arteta continued.
While some Marseille fans are still dreaming of Saliba’s return, Arsenal seem to be counting on him for the coming season. Even if his trainer does not want to promise him anything.
“He is in our plans. But how many central defenders of his age play in big Premier League clubs? In football, you cannot guarantee anyone a starting place. But we tried to prepare him in the best way possible,”Arteta said in comments reported by the Daily Mail .
If he stays at Arsenal, who bought him for 30 million euros from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 and with whom he is under contract until 2024, Saliba will notably be in competition with Gabriel, Ben White and Rob Holding.