Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta can finally put an end to tiring William Saliba saga

Mikel Arteta's end of season speech

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta needs to put an end to the William Saliba saga this summer. The curious case of the French defender continues and it has become tiring for some Arsenal supporters.

Saliba joined the Gunners for £27million in 2019 but was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the season. A new manager was in charge upon his return to the Emirates, as Arteta had replaced Unai Emery.

Arteta has never said he is not a fan of Saliba, but the fact the centre-back is yet to feature in a match-day squad speaks volumes. His third loan away from the club this season has undoubtedly been his most productive.

Saliba has been named Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year following his performances for Marseille. He has repeatedly hinted he would be open to a return to the club one day but also shown respect to Arsenal.

Marseille would also be keen on keeping Saliba, though their transfer ban could have a say on that. RMC Sport claimed on Friday that Saliba has now told Marseille he wants to stay beyond this season.

How that move would look is unclear but it is a priority of manager Jorge Sampaoli to keep the 21-year-old. Arteta now has the chance to nip the situation in the bud.

He has two choices. The first being to let Saliba leave the club after not playing a single match.

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Arsenal fans, on the whole, would not be happy with that decision. However, the saga surrounding the newly-capped France international has become a sideshow at the Emirates.

Saliba has undoubted talent but if Arteta does not think he is the right player for his project, then that decision must be respected. Constant rumours about his future will also not be something that pleases Arteta.

Selling Saliba may not be the most popular decision in the short term but Arteta is all about getting the right characters. It is up to the Gunners boss to decide if he fits his ideal profile.

The alternative decision is to tell Saliba he is going nowhere. He still has two years remaining on his Arsenal contract and is still only young.

He turned 21 in March and not many of the top clubs in Europe will have a regular starting centre-back at that age. Arteta must be clear with both the fans and the player that he is a part of the future.

Saliba may not be the first choice next season but the addition of Europa League football means Arsenal need more than just Gabriel, Ben White and Rob Holding. Arteta has previously stated his delight at how well Saliba has performed this season.

The Spaniard’s private view on the player may well be different to what he tells the media. But whatever plan he has for Saliba, Arteta must make it clear as soon as possible to put an end to what is turning into a circus.

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