Soccer

Arsenal’s on-loan star William Saliba slammed by French press for recent performances

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Arsenal defender William Saliba has been slammed by French press for his recent performances for Marseille and was handed a 3/10 rating for his display during his side’s 4-2 Europa League defeat to Galatasaray on Thursday night. The 20-year-old is currently on loan in France, where he is set to remain for the whole season.

The Gunners shelled out £27million for the youngster in 2019 to sign him from Saint-Etienne before immediately loaning him back to the Ligue 1 club.

Saliba enjoyed a second temporary move to Nice last season and is currently back in France for a third loan spell.

The defender had an impressive start to life at Marseille and was lauded for a string of outstanding displays at the heart of the team’s defence.

Last month, Saliba produced a commanding performance as he kept Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar quiet as Marseille held Paris Saint-Germain to a 0-0 draw.

But the centre-back has looked less convincing in other matches and was far from his best as Marseille were knocked out of the Europa League after defeat in Turkey.

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L’Equipe were quick to single the player out courtesy of a risible rating and suggested that Saliba’s poor positioning resulted in Galatasaray’s final goal of the game. The publication also blamed him for the Turkish side’s third strike.

“After a big start to the season, he had accustomed us to excellence,” the newspaper stated.

“Lately, his concentration swings and bad passes have been costly in the Europa League.

“Already at fault against Lazio (2-2), he conceded he’d ‘slept very badly’ after this match. He must have had a little trouble getting to sleep last night as well.”

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Saliba will be hoping to return to top form as soon as possible as he looks to impress Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and force his way into the Gunners’ team next season.

The defender is set to return to the Emirates Stadium next summer and Arteta has already confirmed that Saliba is part of the club’s long-term plans.

“He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us,” Arteta said earlier this year.

“Hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and his performance raising and his development progressing in the right way. That’s why we made that decision.

“A lot of things have happened to him – he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.

“He needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well. And in order to do that I think we found the right club with him.

“He’s very happy to go there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”

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