Mikel Arteta still confident Arsenal made right decision over William Saliba loan

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Mikel Arteta still confident Arsenal made right decision over William Saliba loan
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Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal made the right decision in allowing William Saliba to leave the club on loan this season, despite the defender’s excellent performances for Marseille.

Saliba has had three loan spells in France since signing for Arsenal in 2019 and is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners.

He remains a highly-rated prospect, however, and last weekend was part of a backline which shut out the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar in Marseille’s 0-0 draw with Paris Saint-Germain, with Arsenal’s technical director Edu in attendance at the Stade Velodrome.

At the same time as allowing Saliba to leave, Arsenal spent £50million to sign Ben White from Brighton to bolster the centre-back options in a squad that also includes Gabriel, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari.

“Everything is linked, obviously the amount of centre-backs we could have in the team,” Arteta said. “The issues we had in the past because of the numbers that we had and the imbalance that we had in the position.

“And because of William’s decision in his career right now, to get the minutes that he’s getting and make the progress that he’s making, we believe it was the right thing to do.

“As a club we’re always in touch, they went to see that game as well, Edu and Ben [Knapper, loan manager] was there to watch him and keep a close eye on him and the progress he’s making. Obviously, he’s our player and we do that with all the loan players we have.”

When asked whether Saliba was likely to return and fight for a first-team place at the end of the season, Arteta added: “That’s a decision we will make in the summer. He’s our player and naturally that would happen but we’ll have to sit down and decide what the best step is next.”

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