Thierry Henry's William Saliba Olympics decision hands Arsenal clear pre-season plan

William Saliba
-Credit: (Image: Anthony Bibard)

Arsenal defender William Saliba has been left out of the France football team for this year's Olympic Games.

Thierry Henry named his 25-man squad on Monday morning ahead of the summer's games in France. The football tournament takes place from July 24 to August 10 with 16 teams competing.

France are one of the favourites to win the gold medal following the confirmation of their squad. Highly-rated defenders Bafode Diakite and Leny Yoro have been included alongside PSG prodigy Warren Zaire-Emery and Nice's Khephren Thuram.

In attack, ex-Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette joins Crystal Palace duo Jean-Philippe Mateta and Michael Olise. However, despite Henry's likely preference to name Saliba, the 23-year-old was left out.

The Gunners centre-back is part of France's Euro 2024 squad in Germany meaning he will miss out on an extended summer break like other players. Featuring in the Olympic games would have seen him not return to his club side until just before the start of the new season.

Earlier this year, it was understood that the club would attempt to block Saliba from being part of the Olympic games. A FIFA rule means the defender wouldn't be able to start the 2024/25 season with Arsenal if he participated.

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It isn't the first time Saliba has been in contention of playing in the Olympics. He was previously picked for the 2021 games in Tokyo but opted to pull out in favour of attending pre-season to impress Arteta following his loan spell with Nice.

Focus will be on Euro 2024 and Saliba with France one of the favourites to win the competition. understands that the colossal centre-back will join up with his club teammates after an extended holiday, depending on how far his nation progresses in Germany.

Fortunately for the north Londoners, Saliba will be able to rest before returning to London Colney ahead of the new season. The Gunners will travel to the USA in July where they will face Man United (July 27) and Liverpool (July 31) meaning Salba is likely to appear later on in the tour.