William Saliba has said he wants to show Arsenal his “true face” next season.
The France international has still not played for the Gunners since his transfer from Saint-Etienne in 2019, reportedly worth around £27million (€31.5m).
Loan moves with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille have followed, but now the 21-year-old centre back is eager to finally show his parent club what they bought three years ago, although he admits he does not know if the Premier League club still want him.
Speaking to Telefoot, Saliba said: “I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left [on my contract].
“I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.
“But it doesn’t just depend on me. In any case, to leave like this, would be a shame.”
Saliba enjoyed a strong 2021-22 season at Marseille, finishing second in Ligue 1 and reaching the semi-finals of the inaugural Europa Conference League.
He played 36 games in Ligue 1, keeping 13 clean sheets, and attempted 490 passes more than any other player in the French top flight (3,044), completing 599 more than anyone else (2,834).
Asked to describe his campaign in one word, he said: “Surprising, or magical. It’s my first full season. I was keen to show who I really am. It’s a very positive assessment and really I’m very happy with my season.
“And that’s why I had this little lump in my stomach saying to myself: ‘Here you go to a club and you mustn’t laugh, you mustn’t have fun, you must play every game thoroughly.’
“It’s as if I stayed at least two or three years, it’s really special. Even if I don’t come back to Marseille, I’ll never forget. Thanks to OM, I spent a great course in my career and it was they who boosted me.”