William Saliba says he pushed for a move to Marseille and is looking forward to using his year at the Stade Velodrome to progress his game.
Most Arsenal supporters had expected the France under-21 international to be integrated into Mikel Arteta’s first team squad this summer but the Gunners were quick to decide he should garner more experience elsewhere.
Having embarked on loan spells with former club Saint Etienne and with an impressive half-season at Nice under his belt, Saliba had a number of suitors, including sides in England.
Ultimately, he settled on a return to his homeland and he’s now set to make his competitive debut for Les Olympiens on Sunday when they start their Ligue 1 campaign at Montpellier.
“Marseille is one of the best clubs in France with a lot of support in Marseille and across France,” he said in a press conference on Thursday. “You have to sweat in the jersey when you’re here.
“I spoke with the coach and the president [before deciding on the loan]. I was convinced. For a young person like me, it’s good to come here to improve.
“I chose Marseille because it is the right choice. I pushed to come here. We will see what will happen next season.
“I’m young, I’m 20, I haven’t proven anything. I want to progress here.”
Pablo Longoria, president of Marseille, is obviously pleased at luring Saliba to the French Riviera.
“At the club, we took pleasure in making this transfer,” he said.
“William has extraordinary potential. He has all the qualities of a modern central defender. He has the ability to win duels, he has everything to succeed at a very high level.”