William Saliba included in Arsenal's long-term plans

Jamie Spencer
William Saliba is on loan at Marseille from Arsenal
William Saliba is on loan at Marseille from Arsenal / Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Arsenal are still planning for centre-back William Saliba to have a long-term future at the club once he has completed a full season as a starter on loan at Marseille.

The Gunners invested £27m to sign a teenaged Saliba in the summer of 2019, initially loaning him back to former club Saint-Etienne for the season that followed.

Saliba was handed the number four shirt when he returned to north London in 2020 and he appeared during pre-season. He was also named in the squad for the Community Shield, but eyebrows were raised when the youngster was excluded from the first-team squad.

That ensured his only Arsenal appearances could come for the Under-23 side, which paved the way for a loan to Nice for the second half of the 2020/21 season.

Saliba, still only 20, started 20 times for Nice in Ligue 1 and has since joined Marseille until the end of this season to get more first-team experience under his belt.

But Arsenal are keeping a close watch on the defender and journalist Fabrizio Romano has reported that they are ‘really happy’ with his progress at Stade Velodrome so far.

William Saliba
Saliba in action for Arsenal's reserves last season / James Chance/Getty Images

Saliba’s number four shirt has been given away to £50m summer singing Ben White in his absence, but the Gunners are said to have already informed him ‘weeks ago’ that he has their trust and will be brought back into the fold in north London on his return next summer.

Saliba has been a regular at Marseille so far this season. He has played 90 minutes in seven of the club’s eight Ligue 1 games and was rested in the only fixture he has missed so far.

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