Arsenal fans receive huge boost as star defender hints at contract extension


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By Martin Graham | 26th Feb 2023

Arsenal fans have received a huge boost after William Saliba made comments that hinted at progress in contract discussions between him and Arsenal.

The 21-year-old has taken the long road to first team football at Arsenal after joining the club at 18 years old. Mikel Arteta and the club decided that a loan would be better for the young Frenchman and he spent two years in France playing for Ligue 1 clubs Olympique de Marseille, OGC Nice and his boyhood club Saint-Etienne.

Following the two impressive years in France, he received his first call-ups to the French national team under Didier Deschamps and even made the 2022 FIFA World Cup squad for Les Bleus.

On either side of the tournament where he was unable to fully strut his stuff, he has been one of Arsenal’s standout performers this season and one of the most used players in the squad across all competitions.

There is great trust in his ability and Mikel Arteta has praised him in times past for showing leadership on the pitch despite his youth.

His current contract with the club runs out in summer 2024 and Arsenal have been discussing with his entourage on how to keep him for longer at the club. Arteta sees him as the future of Arsenal’s backline and has also pushed the club to seal the deal.

Several roadblocks have occurred on the way, but Saliba, who was once again solid in the 1 – 0 away win to resurgent Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, has finally made some comments that will please the Arsenal fans and Arteta greatly.

Saliba was speaking to the Arsenal website when he spoke about his time on loan in his home country, and his love for life under Mikel Arteta this season.

“It helped me a lot because when you are a young player you have to play to improve, so that’s why I took the chance to improve, make mistakes and grow up as well. It was a good experience for me, and I came back better,” the 2022 FIFA World Cup runner-up said.

“I didn’t play one single game here so I always thought about that. I couldn’t leave this amazing club without playing so I always had it in my head to come back and play.

“Before I returned, I wanted to play every game but I didn’t know if that would happen. I worked hard and everyone at the club helped me to be a good starter, but it is not finished.

“I have to keep going and training hard because we are all good; even the players who don’t start. We are all at the same level so that’s good competition. I want to win everything possible here, and to put the club back on the very top. I want to win every title.

“We all want to win the Premier League, and I’ve never won a trophy so that’s why I work every day, but we know we have 15 games left and it’s not going to be easy. We have to focus and never give up because the Premier League is hard.”

The Saint-Etienne youth graduate’s comments indicate that he will be with Arsenal for the foreseeable future even with an expiring contract. The club have now turned their attention to finalising the deal for him after they came to terms with Bukayo Saka on a contract extension for the Englishman during the week.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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