William Saliba has admitted that he is “not thinking about” the possibility of returning to parent club Arsenal when his current loan deal with Marseille comes to an end.
The 20-year-old joined the Gunners in 2019 for a reported £27m transfer fee, but he has not played a single minute of first-team football for the club since.
Instead, he has been shipped out on loan to Saint-Etienne, Nice and currently Marseille, establishing himself as a regular member of the first team at each of those clubs.
Saliba’s performances this season have been heavily praised, once again raising questions over whether he could have a future at Arsenal, but he insists that he is fully committed to Marseille at the moment.
“I’m on loan. But I pretend I’m there for many years. I’m not thinking about returning to Arsenal [right now],” Saliba told Eurosport.
“I give myself to Marseille. I don’t think about what will happen afterwards. Football is like that. In big teams, there is competition everywhere. if you’re afraid of the competition, don’t play football.
“There are hard times. I hadn’t played a game for six months. You have to fight in a career. We must take that as a lesson to go further. It gave me a little slap to say: ‘You are nobody!’ You can be bought for €30m, arrive in a club and we put you aside.
“I took this experience by being positive. I feed on it. I know what it’s like not to play for six months. Today, I want to play every game. It puts the ideas back in place.
“Before arriving at Arsenal, I said to myself: ‘Who am I going to play with?’ And then you are not even in the group in the Premier League. It gives you a good slap, it feels good. It brings you back to the reality.”
Saliba has made 22 appearances for Marseille so far this term, including starting 16 of their 17 Ligue 1 games.