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William Saliba sends clear message to Mikel Arteta over Arsenal return

Arsenal loanee William Saliba has made it clear he desires to be playing often next season, although says he could be keen to accept a rotation function again at the Emirates.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed another excellent loan spell back in Ligue 1, this time with Marseille, and his performances noticed him called up to Didier Deschamps’ senior France squad for the latest international break.

Saliba was a late call-up for the injured Benjamin Pavard and performed in both of France’s friendlies in opposition to Ivory Coast and South Africa, earning his first two caps for his nation.

William Saliba sends clear message to Mikel Arteta over Arsenal return

Whereas the previous Saint-Etienne defender has been a mainstay at the back for Marseille this season, he has discovered alternatives at Arsenal very limited since his transfer in 2019.

Saliba is still yet to make a senior appearance for the north London club – who have since spent large money on centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel – and even dropped into the event squad last season before being sent on loan to Nice in January 2021.

The Frenchman has now made it clear he doesn’t wish to return to the Emirates solely to be sent to the reserves once again – although he would settle for a role as back-up to White and Gabriel if he was given game time and an opportunity to power his means into the side.

Requested in regards to the prospect of returning to Arsenal in a World Cup year, Saliba advised L’Equipe: ‘Of course I can’t just be on the bench at Arsenal and be happy.

‘I wish to play as a starter. After that, if I get into the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like staying with the Beneath-23s and never being in the squad.’

William Saliba sends clear message to Mikel Arteta over Arsenal return

Requested about Saliba following his call-up for France, Arteta stated on Thursday: ‘We’re actually conscious of what he’s doing, how he’s creating.

‘He’s our player and we’re actually proud of the decision that we made as a result of the exposure, minutes, duty and growth at his age is one thing we could not guarantee him this season.

‘It makes a variety of sense what is occurring with him and we’re glad to see him the way in which he’s enhancing.’

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