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Arsenal dealt massive blow as William Saliba ‘decides he does not want to return to club’

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Arsenal have reportedly been told by William Saliba that he wants to stay at Marseille and does not wish to return to the club this summer. It gives Mikel Arteta a mighty headache ahead of the transfer window.

Arsenal have suffered a major blow before the transfer window has even opened after Saliba told Marseille he wanted to stay. The defender has spent the season on loan and been a huge success under Jorge Sampaoli.

It has seen him elevated to one of the top talents in France while he also broke into the international fold, earning his first caps earlier this year against Ivory Coast and South Africa. And many in the country believe he could be the next big thing.

That would, under normal circumstances, be incredible for Arsenal – who signed the 21-year-old in 2019 for around £30million from Saint-Etienne. But Saliba is yet to play a single game for the Gunners, instead going on three different loans.

Arteta has also not shown much faith in the Frenchman after spending nearly £90m on two centre-backs in Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes. The two have formed a solid backline at the Emirates and it would take a lot to dislodge either of them from the starting XI.

It has led to Saliba looking at permanent options away while he has loved every minute at Marseille this season. The French club have made no secret of their affection for the player and would have him for good in a heartbeat.

And according to RMC Sport, that feeling is mutual with the youngster telling Marseille that he wants to stay on a permanent basis. The report states that Saliba has sent a strong and clear message over his future.

This season, the centre-back landed the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and has played 52 times across all competitions. At the Velodrome, he is a fan favourite as well as being one of the first names on the team sheet.

After winning the award on Sunday, Saliba spoke out on his future. He said: “It’s an honour, a source of pride. I dedicate this trophy to my team-mates, my club and the supporters.

“Did I play my last match with Olympique de Marseille? I don’t know. The future will tell us. The most important thing is to confirm this good season by qualifying for the Champions League. Afterwards, we’ll see.”

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