Thursday, July 18, 2024

Henry blocked from selecting Saliba for Paris 2024 Olympics

William Saliba will not take part in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after Arsenal reportedly blocked the player from being selected by France under-21 boss Thierry Henry.

The 23-year-old centre-back just about met the tournament’s age criteria but because the Games don’t fall under FIFA’s jurisdiction, the Gunners aren’t obligated to release him.

This is actually the second time this has happened to Saliba in the last three years although in 2021, ahead of the delayed Tokyo Olympics, France went as far as including him on a provisional list before he and 10 other players were withdrawn. Saliba subsequently joined Marseille on a season-long loan.

The Olympic football tournament starts on 26 July and finishes on 10 August, one day before the new Premier League campaign starts.

Given Saliba played every minute of the 23/24 league campaign and has been given the nod to represent France at the European Championships this summer – a tournament that starts in two weeks time and runs for a month – he’s going to need a rest at some point. In that context, Arsenal’s decision is hardly controversial.

Real Madrid also rejected an approach for Kylian Mbappe who is set to sign for the Bernabeu club in the coming days.

Henry quipped about the situation: “Why didn’t I call Mbappé for the Olympics? The last time I received so many rejections was at the University.  There have not even been negotiations. You go, you ask, they say no and you leave.”

France have selected a few familiar names. Former Arsenal captain Alex Lacazette is one of the three over-23 names while Crystal Palace will be concerned that strikers Jean-Philippe Mateta and Michael Olise are set to play.

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Phew, would have been terrible if he had been allowed to play. He needs some rest and is key to our chances this coming season (see what happened when he got injured in 2022/23).

Hope he does well in the Euros (though I wouldn’t mind if France got knocked out eary) and doesn’t get injured there. We need another full season from him.

Johnny 4 Hats

He’s probably the best CB in the world.

Saliba playing in the Olympics would be like Arseblog going on Lee Gunner’s podcast.


Wow I went down a whole reading his tweets. What a twat.

Johnny 4 Hats

He’s inadvertently ruined his fandom experience by feeling righteous when we lose and eating shit when we win.

Ah well, each to their own.


Our Willy is tired.

Johnny 4 Hats

But he didn’t get yanked off all season…


Dechomp is a chump!

Per's cojones

I didn’t know Titi applied to universities while being a first teamer and Ligue 1 winner at Monaco.. Anyways glad the club exercised caution as our Big Willy doesn’t need to be overextended this summer before the season has even started.

Dr. Gooner

I don’t think he’s talking about his applications


Here goes for some thumbs downs……

….the Club’s decision totally understandable but I would like him to be able to represent his country in his home town Olympics.


You can’t have a world cup AND euros AND Olympics for a single sport and expect the best players to participate in all of them.The Olympics are for sports that don’t get much attention otherwise, football is hardly that. I don’t even get the “3 over-23 players” exception, it’s such a clear money-making sham that makes no logical sense whatsoever, just make it young players and be done with it.

Death by 300,000 Passes

There are a lot of money-making shams in football, but Olympics is maybe the last one of them.

And the “3 over-23” rule for me is as storage as the U-23 requirement itself – originally Olympics was supposed to be venue for amateur sport, the age should not matter. Not sure if any other sport at the Olympics has an age requirement.


It’s a money making sham for the ICC in this case not the Olympics. They know no one will pay attention to their football tournament if no senior players/stars whatsoever came so they allowed this exception. It’s been a very long time since Olympics was only for amateurs, it’s now professionals in every sport o think apart from boxing.


* I meant a money making sham for the IOC rather than FIFA or UEFA, who get nothing from it and therefore don’t obligate players to participate

A Different George

I think it was an agreement between FIFA and the IOC. Because every top male football player was a professional, there was never a problem when the Olympics barred professionals in all sports (however many winks and nods there might have been in athletics and other sports). For sports like basketball, where few paid attention to the annual world championships, when he Olympics were opened to pros they became an important showcase that helped the NBA spread its footprint beyond North America. I suspect that as women’s football leagues develop, and as the Women’s World Cup continues to grow in… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

100 m with college students only?


It’s like watching the plot of the original Space Jam come to life without the talent capturing ray guns. “Dance [play football] monkeys, we demand more content to make more money!”…

Quantity over quality –> the capitalist dream!


I can’t see the point of football in the Olympics. The Olympics is meant to be the pinnacle tournament for the participating sports, but football, tennis, golf etc already have their own world level events that transcend the Olympics in terms of importance. Track and field, swimming, gymnastics, rowing are perfect for it
but not football.


I feel like with Tennis it’s acceptable as there are 4 different “pinnacle” events so not a big deal to add a 5th one, and all the players are usually super up for it. Not the same for football.


If Thierry really loves this club, which I’m sure he does, then he will have asked just as a formality without really wanting to take big willy from us

Philly Gooner

I’m sure he knew going into it that the request would be turned down but if he didn’t ask he wouldn’t be doing his job.


I’m genuinely curious, how much rest does a player need ?

  1. Between games?
  2. Between seasons?

There is always this issue of rest being talked about, with few numbers to accompany it.
I don’t care one way or another about France, this is more of a practical question.


Many players are in pain for much of the season they get injections and play through it, but its not good. They need more rest than they are getting to consistantly play at the top level.

Public Elneny

It’s very individual I imagine and influenced by many variables – age, underlying injuries and weaknesses, mental state, fitness levels, diet, illness etc etc

Dr. Gooner

There’s no one size fits all answer. The pros I have heard talk about this topic tend to say it’s overblown in the fans’ eyes but I’d be curious to hear some current players opine as well. The game has changed so much in the past 20 years.

Man Manny

Thierry Henry, knowing Saliba’s schedule, shouldn’t have considered him in the first place.


Come on, man. Imagine the press. “French U21 coach and Arsenal Legend doesn’t want the best players to play, but is obviously more concerned about Arsenals next season than his actual job”.

He has to ask. He knows the answer. That’s exactly why he feels comfortable asking. He would be severely not-doing-his-job if he didn’t ask, and he’d have his head ripped off for making special arrangements for Arsenal players.

What should he do? Only call up players that have been on the bench for most of the season?

Man Manny

I now get the point and the politics involved.


I’m stuck by the graphic design for France’s team selection announcement. It’s well done!

It is no surprise that Arsenal didn’t allow Saliba to go, for any one or all of the reasons raised.


The Olympics, much like the world cup, are a joke. How many people were removed from their homes or priced out of their communities because of this iteration of the games? How many facilities have been built at great expense to the French taxpayer, that will be used exactly one time and how long will they be paying for it?

Heavenly Chapecoense

If you like the olympics because of cost, try wars.

Heavenly Chapecoense

If you don’t like the Olympics because of cost,…


If you like to bring up unrelated subjects, try twitter.

Mr Dob Bobalina

Yes, the Olympics is famous for preventing wars, notably the 1936 Olympics.

USA win a lot of medals and they never get involved in wars.


Don’t worry about that. Apparently West Ham have applied to use it (free of charge) as their training facility.


It’s a prudent decision made by the Gunners. Gunners forever.


I think this is a very simple one.

  • Established international player plays for a non-host nation, player should have no interest in playing in the Olympics.
  • Established international player, playing for a host nation with no other international involvement, objective case for playing (look at Dupont in the rugby).
  • Established international trying to play in both the Euros and the Olympics, no thank you, cheeky wink to Thierry for even trying.

Antoine Dupont would be twerking in his grave

Emi Rates



Just laughing at Andrew calling dinosaurs vegetarian on Arsecast. Love the idea that they made a choice. Was it out of a love for animals or for health reasons? We’ll never know.

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