William Saliba among Arsenal returnees as pre-season preparation ramps up

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William Saliba’s return to the club gives Mikel Arteta a much-needed boost in the defensive department (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba’s return to the club gives Mikel Arteta a much-needed boost in the defensive department (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

William Saliba was among a number of internationals who returned to Arsenal on Monday to begin their pre-season preparations.

The Frenchman, who will be handed the chance to impose himself on first-team proceedings, has never played a senior game for the club despite joining from St Etienne during the summer of 2019.

Such has been the level of Saliba’s form while away on loan at both Nice and Marseille, however, the central defender has earned international recognition within the French senior team, winning five caps this calendar year alone.

With a lack of depth seen as a major reason as to why Mikel Arteta’s side saw their Champions League challenge collapse towards the end of last season, the idea of welcoming a French international defender into the squad is an exciting one.

Saliba’s return provides another option in defence while Arteta’s attacking line has been strengthened following the £45m signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City. Despite a lack of first-team minutes at the Emirates Stadium, the player himself has vowed to show fans “my true face” and relish the chance to “play for this great club”.

Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Nuno Tavares, Aaron Ramsdale, Lucas Torreira and Takehiro Tomiyasu were among the others to return to London Colney.

Pre-season is well underway for Arsenal after their 5-3 victory over German second division side Nurnberg on Thursday and the squad will jet out to the USA for games against Everton, Orlando City and Chelsea.

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