William Saliba has announced that he has spoken to manager Mikel Arteta about his role in the upcoming season and intends to fight for his place in the Arsenal starting XI.
The 21-year-old defender has had quite a difficult time since joining the Gunners in 2019, having been immediately loaned to Saint-Etienne before moving on to Nice and Marseille – where he excelled last season.
Saliba – who is yet to make an appearance for the first-team – was frustrated by his lack of opportunities under Arteta after falling back to the development squad in the 2020-21 season.
He was heavily linked with a permanent move to Marseille but Arsenal have always been keen to reintegrate him.
With Europa League football next season, Saliba will be getting plenty of minutes and he seems to have had an encouraging chat with Arteta about his role in the team.
Asked if Arteta has explained his plan for the defender this season, Saliba told the club’s official website: “We talked a bit on Monday and we will talk more.
“My plan is to work, fight, work with the team, win whatever is possible. To keep growing and winning everything and fighting for this season.”
Saliba was given an extra time-out after taking part in France’s summer internationals and only reported for training on Monday, before the side flew to the United States on Thursday for their pre-season tour.
On returning to work with the team after a year, he said: “It feels good to be back and to start the pre-season. I’m so excited to keep training and playing in the friendlies.
“It’s important to be here with the fans and my teammates. I hope we’ll enjoy some good training sessions and games, which is important before the season starts.’
Despite doubts about Saliba’s future at Arsenal – and his willingness to return to the club – he said he always planned to come back and kept a close eye on the team’s performances during his stay at Marseille.
He added: “When I was on loan I looked at every single one [Arsenal] game because when I was there some players weren’t there.
“I watched the games to see how they played. So when I’m back it would be easier to play with the ones I haven’t met before.”
Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes formed an excellent partnership at the heart of Arsenal’s defense last season and will be very difficult for Saliba to oust.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/15/william-saliba-reveals-talks-with-mikel-arteta-about-arsenal-role-17009970/ William Saliba reveals talks with Mikel Arteta over Arsenal role | Soccer