William Saliba aims dig at Arsenal amid transfer admission – ‘The club I needed’

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Arsenal defender William Saliba has appeared to take a thinly-veiled dig at the club by revealing loan club Marseille are the club he “needed” as he continues to impress in France. The 20-year-old defender linked up with Marseille on a season-long loan deal this summer.

Despite commanding a £27million transfer fee back in 2019, Saliba has still yet to kick a ball for the Gunners’ first team.

Boss Mikel Arteta elected to splash out £50m to bring Ben White to the Emirates from Brighton back in July – a move that paved the way for Saliba to make his third loan exit since his arrival in London.

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Despite a tough start to life at Arsenal, Saliba’s form in Ligue 1 for Marseille has raised hopes he can play a big part in Arteta’s future plans.

Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen – but the young defender is in no doubt that he’s currently in the right place.

“We’ve done a big start to the season, even if the three last games haven’t been positive with two losses in Ligue 1,” Saliba told L’Equipe.

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“We’re going to come back to try and win. I have been welcomed really well by my teammates and the fans.

“For me, it’s a very good choice, it’s the club I needed, with a very good pressure.

“At my age, it’s good to play in a stadium like that.”

Hopes were high amongst Arsenal fans when the deal for Saliba was struck, but his lack of action has caused frustration.

Some fans have called for Saliba to be given a shot following the club’s inconsistent form in the Premier League since his arrival.

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But that has failed to materialise – with his path to Arteta’s team further blocked by White’s mega-money arrival this summer.

Despite his lack of minutes for the Gunners, the Frenchman has impressed after playing in seven of Marseille’s eight league matches so far this term.

Saliba has even been compared to Liverpool colossus Virgil van Dijk by his fitness coach in France, and Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli has also been singing the praises of his loan star.

Sampaoli told RMC Sport: “He’s a top player at his position, We were lucky to get him on loan, it wasn’t simple.

“He’s great at marking, but good bringing the ball out too. He’s a future great of French football, he’s very good at starting plays.”

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