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William Saliba confirms desire to leave Arsenal

William Saliba confirms desire to leave Arsenal
© Reuters
On-loan Arsenal defender William Saliba confirms that he wants to remain at Marseille and experience Champions League football with Les Olympiens.

Arsenal defender William Saliba has confirmed his desire to leave the club and sign for Marseille on a permanent deal.

The 21-year-old has been sent out on loan three times since joining the Gunners for £27m in 2019 and is yet to make a first-team appearance for the North London club.

Saliba enjoyed a productive loan spell at Nice during the second half of the 2020-21 season but was not given a chance to force his way into Mikel Arteta's plans last summer.

Instead, Saliba joined Marseille on a season-long loan deal and was instrumental in helping Jorge Sampaoli's side seal qualification for the Champions League in the 2021-22 campaign.

The France international made a total of 51 appearances for Les Olympiens this term, including 36 outings in the top flight as Marseille fended off competition from Monaco to finish second.

William Saliba in action for Marseille in October 2021© Reuters

Saliba was not involved in Marseille's Champions League-clinching 4-0 success over Strasbourg on the final day due to suspension, but he was still among the celebrations at the final whistle.

Prior to the final day of the Ligue 1 season, Saliba had supposedly informed Marseille president Pablo Longoria of his desire to remain at the club beyond the end of his loan spell.

Journalists also managed to catch a word with the former Saint-Etienne youngster in the mixed zone on Saturday, during which he admitted that he wants to experience Champions League football with Marseille.

"I want to come back and play the Champions' League. I have never played in it and I want to discover it here," Saliba responded when questioned on his next career move, as quoted by Get French Football News.

Arsenal will only be playing Europa League football next season after finishing fifth in the Premier League, despite posting a 5-1 thumping over Everton on the final day of the season.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on May 16, 2022© Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur pipped Arteta's side to fourth place by putting five unanswered goals past Norwich City, but Saliba remains under contract at the Emirates until 2024.

Furthermore, reports emerged earlier this year of Marseille being slapped with a two-window transfer ban over the deal to bring Pape Gueye to the club in 2020.

The midfielder had only just signed a contract with Watford before joining the French giants, but Marseille have taken the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Saliba's only appearances for Arsenal so far have come for the Under-23s - making eight appearances at youth level, as well as making the bench for the first team in the EFL Cup.

The Gunners have already lost one centre-back ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, with Konstantinos Mavropanos joining Stuttgart on a permanent deal earlier this month.

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Marseille's William Saliba pictured in March 2022
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