William Saliba was very convinced and determined to come here, says Mikel Arteta

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed he didn’t have to convince William Saliba to stay at the club as the Frenchman is still determined to stay at Arsenal this season. The 20-year-old returned from a loan spell at Marseille and was heavily linked with a permanent return to France.

Despite signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2019 to much hype, William Saliba struggled to make an impact at the club and was instead loaned out by the Gunners. The Frenchman has spent the last three seasons on loan with spells at St Etienne, OGC Pleasant and more recently at Olympique de Marseille. This is where Saliba really matured finishing the 2021/22 season by winning the League 1young player of the year award.

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This, combined with Arsenal’s already hefty defensive roster, has led many to believe that Saliba is set to return to France for good, but the Frenchman has remained at the Emirates Stadium so far. Not only that, he made his Premier League bow for the Gunners last week and finished the game with the Man of the Match award. He saw Arteta reveal he never had to convince Saliba to stay as the Frenchman was determined to prove himself at the club.

“The reality is that he (William Saliba) was very convinced and determined to come here. He had no other choice (in his head), he never offered anything else. From the first conversations I had with him, you could see that he had only one intention – to come here and start playing football matches for Arsenal,” Arteta said, Athletic reported.

“I think positive expectations and expectations are created when you see something special in a player and it’s obvious: they’ve seen that, they see the talent. What I would say is instead of doing that, just protect the player. Let’s protect it, make sure it has the right environment to fulfill its potential and when things aren’t going so well that we’re as good as we are when things are going well.

However, as the young defender made a very impressive start to his Premier League career, Arteta urged fans and critics alike to let Saliba make his mistakes because they are going to happen. Not only that, the Arsenal boss further revealed that due to the age of his squad at the moment, it’s an integral part of the game.

“Mistakes are part of football at 21 and 35. They are going to happen, the mistakes we want to happen are as much as possible on the training ground and if they happen on the pitch they don’t cause you any trouble. goals. That’s the goal. But inevitably, things will happen.

“I’ve always said that especially with the portfolio of young and developing players that we have in our team, you have to foot a bill. And this bill is that at some point they’re going to make mistakes, they are going to experience things for the first time and they have to go through this process,” he added.

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