William Saliba’s reasoning for telling Arsenal he wants to leave this summer

Arsenal's pre-season schedule as Gunners head to USA

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William Saliba has told Arsenal he wants to leave the club this summer if he is not guaranteed a starting spot, according to reports. Saliba wants to give himself the best chance of being in France’s World Cup squad.

The centre-back is yet to make a single first-team appearance for the Gunners since his £27million move to the club in 2019. He enjoyed a successful loan spell at Marseille last season, where his performances earned him a first call-up and first caps for France.

Saliba is back with Arsenal for pre-season and has travelled to their pre-season tour in the USA. However, his future remains in the spotlight.

The Independent says Saliba’s intention is to leave Arsenal if he is not set to be a starter for Mikel Arteta after being told he has a real chance of being in France’s squad if he plays regularly. Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes formed a good partnership at the back last season.

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It remains to be seen if Arteta would be willing to break up that combination to cater for Saliba’s return. The report claims Atletico Madrid and Marseille are keen on signing the 21-year-old on a permanent deal.

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More teams would be interested in the player if Arsenal made him available. Saliba has two years remaining on his contract and has indicated he is not currently willing to put pen to paper on an extension.

But his desire to leave could come much earlier than 2024. Saliba is yet to play in pre-season but will be in contention for this weekend’s match against Everton.

Arteta may use the next few weeks to judge whether Saliba is ready to be a regular in the Premier League. There are doubts over the future of Gabriel, who is attracting interest from Juventus.

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If Gabriel were to leave, it could open up a starting spot for Saliba. Arteta made it clear in May that letting Saliba go out on loan last season was the best decision for everyone involved.

He said: “He has to come back. He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us.

“If he had stayed with us this year, with one match of Premier League a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure. For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn’t have been good.”

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