Another game, another impressive outing from William Saliba as his loan spell at Marseille goes from strength to strength.
The Arsenal defender has been ever-present for Jorge Sampaoli’s side at the start of the Ligue 1 campaign and was handed a start in their Europa League opener against Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday evening.
With the Gunners not in any European competition this season, it’s given supporters a chance to keep a closer eye on how Saliba – and Matteo Guendouzi for that matter – is getting on.
And it’s safe to say they were encouraged by the 20-year-old’s latest outing.
As spotted on Arsenal Reddit, Saliba earned a 7.1 rating on SofaScore despite Marseille being held to a 1-1 draw in Russia, with Chelsea’s loan star Tino Anorin netting an 89th-minute equaliser for 10-man Loko.
A closer look at Saliba’s 90 minutes shows that he completed one interception and tackle apiece, had 117 touches of the ball from which he recorded a 97.4% pass accuracy with 111 passes.
One of which played a key role leading up to Marseille breaking the deadlock.
Playing out from the back, Saliba broke through the lines with a crisp pass into Guendouzi who in turn fed Cengiz Under to drive into the box where he won the penalty from which he scored.
Such was Saliba’s impressive performance that many Arsenal fans are plotting for his return at the end of the season.
Now, as revealed by football.london earlier in the week, the current plan regarding Saliba is for him to come back to the club next summer where a decision will be made whether he’s offered a new contract or not.
A decision some supporters think will be made even easier by selling one or both of Rob Holding and Pablo Mari next summer, which creates an opening for Saliba to finally kickstart his Arsenal career.
Given the depth of centre-backs at Mikel Arteta’s disposal right now, should one leave it would effectively create the perfect scenario for Saliba to take one of their spots in the first-team squad.
A theory outlined by Arsenal fans below…
BlessedBySaintLauren said: “I mean if we have Saliba coming back it does make sense to sell at least one of our cbs.”
BorusseGooner said: “Hope he can come back and ultimately replace Mari/Holding if either are offloaded.”
goonerfan10 said: “I hope he will be here next season. Could potentially be ahead of Holding & Mari.”
Regarding the club’s decision to allow Saliba to head out on loan once again, technical director Edu told the club’s website: “Together with William, we have decided it will be good for his continued development to spend another season on loan. William joined us as an 18-year-old, and he is still only 20, so he is still developing all the time.
“William is a player with strong natural ability and next season has the potential to be really beneficial for him at Marseille, a good club. To play another season in Ligue 1 will be very important for his development.
“We will of course be keeping in close contact with William during the season and wish him all the best in France with Marseille.”