View: Arsenal should make a firm commitment to William Saliba or let him go
Arsenal should finally make a decision on William Saliba this summer and either commit to using him at the club or let him move on.
The 21-year-old has been at the Emirates for three years without ever making a senior appearance, and is currently with Marseille in Ligue 1 on his third loan.
And after enjoying a breakout season he has been called up to the France squad and gained two full international caps this year.
After spending £27million on the then teenager, temporary moves away to aid his development might have made sense, but the continued uncertainty over his future suggest plans have gone awry.
Football Insider reported last week (26 April) that despite the success he has enjoyed in the south of France this season, manager Mikel Arteta is only planning to incorporate him as a backup at the Emirates, and could sell him if the right offer came in.
A day later TEAMTalk reported that the player was determined to fight for his place in north London.
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A stumbling block to success with the Gunners is apparently that he is seen to be a relic of the previous regime, having been signed under former boss Unai Emery.
Arteta seems to be intent on asserting his authority on the squad, and has sanctioned the exits, permanent or temporary, of other holdovers such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.
But for a young player like Saliba who has made a step up this year, a decision needs to be made rather than continuing to string him along with a series of loan moves.
The Frenchman’s agent said this week, via The Mirror: “We still don’t know what Arsenal want to do with William. We will have a discussion about this very soon I think.”
Whether he was bought by the previous regime or not, the current one must have an opinion one way or the other.
He would seem to be the exact sort of profile for the team the Spanish manager is building, led by young talents such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
Saliba has made nearly 50 appearances for the Marseille first team this year, as his club find themselves second in the league and one step from a European final.
If Arteta is unwilling to break up the partnership of Ben White and Gabriel, it would seem to make little sense to bring Saliba back where he has long appeared to be a spare part, so they should give him his wish and both sides can move on.