Word stemming from the French media on Saturday has thrown the future of Arsenal talent William Saliba into fresh doubt.
Highly-regarded youngster Saliba, of course, is fresh off the back of a third loan stint away from the Emirates, and parent club Arsenal.
After failing to work his way into the first-team plans of Mikel Arteta ahead of the campaign getting underway, the 21-year-old secured a return to his home country with Olympique Marseille.
And to say that Saliba subsequently went on to impress would be something of an understatement.
The former Saint-Etienne talent quickly established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet of boss Jorge Sampaoli, en route to starts in all but two of Marseille’s Ligue 1 outings across the campaign.
Not only that, but Saliba too saw his form rewarded with both a call-up to the French senior national team, and the award for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.
Chatter, in turn, has long been rampant amongst the Arsenal fanbase, regarding what exactly is likely to be in store for the club’s up-and-coming defender in the 2022/23 campaign.
The vast majority have made clear their hope that Saliba will ultimately return in the summer, before battling it out with current first-choice central-defensive duo Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes for a starting berth.
And any lingering speculation otherwise appeared to have been put to bed earlier this week, when Mikel Arteta announced that the Gunners’ defensive starlet ‘has to come back’ to north London.
Arteta tells RMC: “William Saliba has to come back. He has the experience to be competitive with us. We sent him to Marseille for his growth”. 🇫🇷 #AFC
“William wanted to be regular starter as you know but now we want him back at Arsenal”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 24, 2022
As alluded to above, though, on Saturday, fresh doubt has been cast around Saliba’s situation.
The info comes courtesy of French journalist Mohamed Toubache, who has definitively assured that the 21-year-old ‘absolutely wants to remain at Marseille’.
Not only that, but it is added that ‘both clubs’ are aware of Saliba’s desires, with it now up to the transfer team at the Stade Velodrome to convince their Arsenal counterparts of a sale.
William Saliba absolutely wants to remain at Marseille & both clubs know his desire – he has no intention of being a spare part at Arsenal, according to @MohamedTERParis – will be up to Marseille to make a compelling proposal.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) May 28, 2022