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Arsenal Defender Fires Warning at Arteta, Declares Priority is to be a Starter not a Bench-warmer

William Saliba, Marseille, Arsenal

There is a very good chance that William Saliba can be at Arsenal for a full season from this summer. However, he has made it clear that he does now want to spend time sitting on the bench. His priorities remain to be a starter at the club and his second priority is being rotated as a substitute. He has once again excelled in his loan spell at Marseille. This is what William Saliba told L’Equipe (via Football.London) about his wishes:

“Of course, I can’t just be on the bench at Arsenal and be happy. I want to play as a starter. After that, if I get into the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like staying with the Under-23s and never being in the squad.”

Saliba was recently called up by the French team after Benjamin Pavard got withdrawn because of injuries. He has featured in two matches for France and won both matches. The 21-year-old defender has already impressed all the managers he has played under and has very good potential and talent going forward.

William Saliba applauding French fans, William Saliba, Arsenal
Image obtained via Football.London

Mikel Arteta has spoken about William Saliba recently and has specified how he is happy with Saliba’s growth. This is what Arteta had to say about Saliba,

“We are really aware of what he’s doing, how he’s developing. He’s our player and we are really happy with the decision that we made because the exposure, minutes, responsibility and growth at his age is something we could not guarantee him this season. It makes a lot of sense what is happening with him and we are glad to see him the way he is improving.”

Why Is William Saliba Determined To Be A Regular Player At Arsenal?

It is the wish of any football player to be the first name on the team sheet. Similarly, Saliba is hungry to learn, develop and play at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Moreover, he has proved his worth at three different clubs in three loan spells. He has done well with Saint Etienne, OGC Nice and lastly Marseille.

However, the major reason why he wants to play with Arsenal is that he has not worn the Arsenal jersey for their senior side a single time in three years at the club. He has been loaned out in all three seasons for more exposure and game time. An elite team usually has four proper centre-backs. Arsenal have one spot open. They currently have Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding as centre-backs.

William Saliba tackling Kylian Mbappe, William Saliba, Arsenal
Image obtained via talkSPORT

Although Arsenal have kept the third-most clean sheets in the Premier League (only behind Manchester City and Liverpool), there is still a lot of progress to be made. William Saliba has the potential to be the fourth centre-back and even challenge for a starting spot. The Frenchman signed a five-year contract with Arsenal and now there are only two years left with zero appearances.

Should Arsenal Allow The Frenchman A Rotating Role At The Club?

If Arsenal lets William Saliba go, there won’t be much time before he agrees on a deal with a rival club. That is how much Saliba has improved and proved in his performances. There is no doubt Arsenal should keep William Saliba but another loan deal might frustrate the player. That might lead to the player wanting to move out of the club and Arsenal losing a good player.

Arsenal’s priority lies in signing strikers for next season but they should also improve minor things in the defence. Arsenal have the solution in their hands by keeping Saliba instead of letting him out on loan. This way they can direct funds to sign players in the priority areas. Most of the Arsenal games are played by Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes.

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William Saliba could offer them much-needed rest so that they can be fresh for the next game. Arsenal need squad depth to face the challenge of fixture congestion next season. It would be a very tough ask for White and Gabriel to play the whole season.

Saliba and Holding could feature in the cup matches and the Frenchman’s elite mentality and ability might even see him challenge to become the first choice defender for the big games. This would create a healthy competition in the squad forcing the other players to improve too.

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