William Saliba has pulled his name out of the French Olympic games squad. The 20-year-old was due to head to Tokyo this month with the likes of Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga, Tigres’ Florian Thauvin and co.
It is still unknown as to whether Arsenal blocked the move or he did not have any plans to go or any other reason, but in a statement this afternoon, the French Football Federation said,
“Following the refusal of several clubs to release their players initially selected with the French Olympic football team, coach Sylvain Ripoll has unveiled a list with eleven new players.”
Reports have already emerged that Arsenal would look to loan him out for another season to French club Marseille to continue his development.
Here is the updated full squad list for the French Team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
🚨 Exclusive: Arsenal defender William Saliba looks set to join Marseille on loan. Not done but 20yo has picked #OM from many options & now clubs need to agree deal. #AFC want him to get full season playing — still part of long-term thinking @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/RemZlyyb5J
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 2, 2021
Saliba’s agent met Arsenal’s technical director Edu this week to discuss the future of his client. It is within the realms of imagination that those talks laid the foundation of Saliba not going to Tokyo.
Selling the former St. Etienne man would be very frustrating for fans, as he has not been handed a single opportunity by the club since his big-money move in 2019.
William Saliba has made the shortlist for Ligue 1 Centre Back of the Season 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/iC3hocwNih
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) May 31, 2021
Since he started his career in the men’s game in 2018/19, there has not been a single campaign where the young defender has looked out of his depths.
He’s had three impressive seasons at Ligue 1, and many believed now was the time to hand him minutes at the Emirates Stadium. If the Gunners were hell-bent on loaning him out, spending another season in France did not make much sense.
However, it appears like it was Saliba’s decision and not Arsenal’s to join Marseille, who are playing in the Europa League and will fight for a Champions League spot next season.
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As a fan, I am sad as well as disappointed at how the Saliba situation has been handled. Although it’s worth considering that the Frenchman was acquired under a different regime, recruitments should never be “manager-oriented” in my opinion.
It should be “club-oriented” so even if a manager leaves, there would hardly be an impact on the current crop of players.
David Ornstein further confirmed that Saliba is in the club’s “long-term thinking” and not in “long-term plans.” Which only means one thing, he might end up departing on a permanent basis come next summer.
And you cannot blame the boy for it. He has been impressive in Ligue 1 since day one. Maybe it’s the board members of Arsenal who need to have a good look in the mirror.
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