Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Saliba spotted in Marseille ahead of loan move

William Saliba has been snapped in Marseille after arriving in the city to finalise a season-long loan deal with the Stade Velodrome outfit.

The France under-21 international is returning to Ligue 1 for a third loan spell since signing for Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019.

The centre-back returned to his boyhood club for a year as part of the £27 million deal and last season spent six months gaining further experience with Nice.

According to The Athletic, a number of clubs, including Newcastle United and Lille, were hopeful of recruiting Saliba this time around but the player has favoured Jorge Sampaoli’s project.

Arsenal will receive a loan fee from Marseille but the French side will not have an option to buy the player at the end of the season. Noises coming out of the Emirates suggest the 20-year-old still has a future as a Gunner even though he’s yet to feature in a competitive match and with the club set to recruit Ben White from Brighton for £50 million. 

This will be the second bit of business done between Arsenal and Marseille this summer. Les Olympiens have also taken Matteo Guendouzi on loan with a view to buying the player this time next year.

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Wish him success


This is fine. Time to develop and get a better measure of his quality, and an extra year to best figure out the strengths of our current defenders (including, presumably, White) and which of them might be better suited to a departure next summer. I’m sure the reaction to this development will be very measured and sensible. Well done in advance, everyone.


I don’t understand what we are expecting to find out that we didn’t last year… or the year before. He’s a talented French youngster who looks good in the French league. At least if you’re going to loan him do it to a prem club.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

A prem team would have been ideal but it may have been a case where none of them could guarantee that he would be a regular starter.


Surely if he’s not good enough to crack into a struggling PL team he’s not good enough to be playing for Arsenal anytime in the immediate future. This is a player who has been one of the better young defenders in the French league each of the past 3 years – it’s a real league by the way.

Just for a guide – Saliba has more top flight experience than Ben White does.


We must be real confident of White’s arrival. If this goes through (presumably done and dusted with him in France) and we get gazumped on White… Yikes, that will not look good.

In a way, we just handed all negotiation strength to BHA and White’s entourage to extract some last minute additions to the deal because it now becomes more or less a must do.


Could be a stylistic move… If Marseille play in a way that’s like our own (or how Arteta wants us to play) maybe they see more value in that than firefighting in a low block at Newcastle


Stylistic move? So Ben White was playing for a stylistically identical team and hence the interest?

Teta's cult of personality

Maybe to see how he could do it at a Europa League level? Though last season when we were playing part-time footballers, would have been a good time.

I even thought the club would offer him as a short-term Ben White replacement to Brighton or maybe even to Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Naturally the club always knows more than we do as supporters. They even knew that we wanted an Amazon documentary and a Super League before any of us did.

Chess not checkers 🏁😊


Absolutely not. Let’s wait for the 4th loan before making it a premier league clubs. Four seems like a better number😌


I agree we should definitely trust Arsenal’s desicion makers. They are almost flawless.


Are you Mavropanos in disguise 😀

Teta's cult of personality



My reaction is metrically benign when I say that this whole debacle needs explaining by the club. The constant pattering around the reasons Saliba isn’t good enough to even be second choice are just not good enough.

If it’s a mistake of the old regime, fine. Just say something to that effect and we can all move on. As it is, Arteta looks the a-hole in all of this.


Very well said.

John C

It doesn’t need explaining, as it could be a number of reasons.

The most likely one is the club feel they’ve bought a potential £80m defender before his value has reached that level and in order for him to get there needs regular game time at a slightly more forgiving environment first.

Much like how van Dijk went from the Dutch league to Celtic, then Southampton before Liverpool signed him for £75m.

It’s not a particularly difficult concept to understand.

Teta's cult of personality

The same Liverpool that managed to give Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Neco Williams decent minutes as teenagers, without any loans too. At the same age as Saliba, Trent had played 3440 minutes and Joe had played 1900 minutes. Joe Gomez wasn’t signed by Klopp either but he still managed to develop him without any loans whatsoever. Nor was he responsible for Trent who was an academy product. So ironically, Liverpool is a poor example. You’re right though, it isn’t a particularly difficult concept to understand. Makes me wonder why Arteta the Visionary is having such a hard time grasping… Read more »

John C

That’s not the route we’ve gone down with Saliba, maybe it’s possible because they play alongside a player of van Dijk’s caliber?! We don’t have that luxury.

Take van Dijk out of Liverpool’s defence and they ship goals, they’re record last season was worse than our defensively so it is indeed a good comparison.

John C



I think you genuinely have to question the lack of opportunities even in the EL group stages last year though – that kind of blows a hole in the whole carefully managing his career narrative. I would add that Saliba has more top flight experience than Ben White does.

John C

It doesn’t have to be top flight experience, it has to be regular, sustained playing time.

I don’t know the standard of Ligue Un, but i’m guessing it’s somewhere between Premier League and Championship, probably closer to Championship for most clubs.

Ben White is probably a good analogy, at 23 he now has the requisite experience, having graduated up through the leagues to play for a big club


Saliba has been regularly starting in Ligue 1 for close to 3 years now. A lot of the teams in ligue 1 would comfortably fit into the PL.


I know you guys are bought and sold on the idea that Arteta has ruined this poor superstar’s career, but he’s been playing for some mid-table Ligue 1 teams: aren’t you curious to see what his progression is this year playing for a top five club in Marseille? The club has said time and again that Saliba is an important piece of the future. The young centre back will a ripe 21 when he comes back next summer, with 2 full years to go on his deal with us. Ben White might turn out to be an excellent signing for… Read more »


Why do you feel the need to respond to virtually everything I post? Actions speak louder than words – he’s clearly not someone Arteta fancies given he hasn’t played a single competitive game for him despite Arteta clearly feeling the need to spend a massive fee on a young CB for the 3rd year in a row.


Rent free, baby!

Saliba is not someone Arteta wants to rely on right now; he’s indicated that he intends to rely on him in the future.

If we are going to pay 50m for White, yeah, it does indicate that Arteta really fancies what he can bring to the team. He might really fancy what Saliba can bring to the team next season. Big team management. The horror.


You mean mid table team management.

John C

So he’s currently not good enough then, maybe after 4 seasons he’ll be up to the job


I mean I get it. We’ve watched him play extremely well against French opposition for 3 years now. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more watching him play against French opposition for a 4th year.

Teta's cult of personality

What Luxury? Before van Dijk played his first Liverpool game. Joe Gomez had already played in 27 Premier League matches. Likewise, Trent Alexander-Arnold had already played in 17 Premier League matches.

Before Van Dijk’s injury, Liverpool had already conceded 11 goals in 4 matches with him. Their defensive record had already started to worsen in the previous season. That was quite clear in their matches against Watford, City, Chelsea and us that season.

John C

So what’s your argument? That Gomez and Alexander-Arnold are haven’t improved despite the experience they have? That they’re worse playing alongside van Dijk?

What point are you trying to make?

Teta's cult of personality

My underlying point is that using Liverpool as an example of developing young defenders actually contradicts the position you’ve taken. Klopp had already shown his willingness to give young defenders opportunities before van Dijk was even a Liverpool target. The second paragraph is just to indicate that not having van Dijk available wasn’t the sole reason for Liverpool’s drop in defensive performance. They were already trending that way. If clubs better than us can give develop their inexperienced defenders without the need for loans, then there isn’t any valid reason for why an experienced Saliba hasn’t started a competitive match… Read more »

John C

Sorry, i don’t buy your 4 match argument that van Dijk isn’t their defensive lynchpin. The over whelming evidence is without him their results suffer, and his signing completely transformed their defence.

The evidence with Liverpool isn’t as you seem to think an argument to develop inexperienced defenders at the club because it HASN’T worked for them. What has worked for them is signing the experienced van Dijk, as demonstrated by their results with and without him!

Teta's cult of personality

John, I focused on Liverpool because it’s the example you used yourself. There are numerous other examples in the Premier League of developing young defenders without loans that I could have provided. Liverpool managed to achieve top 4 relying on Gomez in 16/17 and Trent in 20/21. Both of whom were without van Dijk in these seasons. I think we can say Liverpool’s development of them HAS worked given the results. I never claimed that van Dijk isn’t Liverpool’s defensive lynchpin. I simply said that his unavailability wasn’t the only reason their defensive record was worse last season. The signs… Read more »

Teta's cult of personality

** over 4 shots on target.


The concept I don’t understand is that whenever Saliba comes up in conversation, Arteta and Arsenal become veryvague and tend to not answer the question. This was my point, there is no reason to be vague if the club genuinely believe they are doing the right thing.

Have we been sold a lemon? No. Is he unfit? No. So, what IS the actual issue that this supposedly very good defender can’t cope with a handful of games in the league and some cup games? Lesser players have been given game time to show they are or are not ready.

John C

Who knows why, and why do they have to provide a running commentary to please you?

Maybe Arteta doesn’t think between 6-15 cup games a seasons against varying degrees of quality provides Saliba with the enough game time to actually develop?

Maybe he’s immature, maybe he’s homesick, who knows

Why do people get so wound up about Saliba?

Bleeding gums murphy

If he was given a four year contract? and this is his third season being loaned out he has a year left on his contract at the end of coming season. It looks more and more like we have spunked best part of 30 million.


He’s contracted until June 2024.

Bleeding gums murphy

Ah thanks wasn’t sure. 5 year contract, that offers bit more hope it ain’t a complete disaster.


I’m sick of the shit surrounding Saliba. I hope we sell him in the next window so we can all move on from it.


as long as we’re hoping, you might as well hope he succeeds for us and becomes a world class CB 🙂


It’s the hope that kills you

Teta's cult of personality

Always is😁.


People haven’t seen him play for Arsenal. And he is a top class talent.
Because he played well in France.

What I haven’t seen yet is Arteta’s qualities. How come and you are not sick of that?

Btw I dont want him to leave…

Sensible move for all parties – as long as he’s a regular starter there of course.

He’ll get a taste of European football too as Marseille are in the Europa League group stages.


The think I dont get is what is our scope here. What do we have to lose? Are we fighting for top 4? Short termism lead us to 10th. We gave minutes to Mustafi and Kolasinac instead of Saliba.

To Willian instead of Pepe and even Nelson.

We are fundamentally wrong on our desicions.

Viv The 🐐

Hope it goes well and that he comes out of this loan with all the possibilities available. Marseille seem a bit unstable and would have loved him to play in England, but that is the way it turned out to be. Big up Big Willy!


Now he is with his mate Guenedouzi, brilliant! This is not going to end well… Imho he willi not play for arsenal ever again as long as Arteta is manager (same for Guendouzzi)

Crash Fistfight



Did he play a pre season friendly?

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Will his contract expire before he kicks a ball for the club?

Will he get sold for a big loss?

Will he eventually play for Arsenal football club?

Stay tuned.

A Different George

Is it possible that he is more likely to learn to play the way Arsenal want from a centre half if he plays in a team coached by Jorge Sampaoli (even in Ligue 1) than by Steve Bruce?


From what I can see, French AFC supporters seem pretty furious with this decision.
It does seem an absolute waste to not get him started in the Premier League.
All I can imagine here is that he influenced the decision to join Marseille over Newcastle, and after management had already cocked up one loan move, they decided to listen to his demands this time around.

What I’m most scared of is Guendouzi turning him against Arsenal by slagging off all the players/staff.

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