Mikel Arteta opens up on William Saliba future

Mikel Arteta has outlined his clear plan for William Saliba, stating no player in his team is guaranteed specific playing time.

Mikel Arteta got another chance to see his players in action when Arsenal played a somewhat competitive friendly against Everton in Baltimore. One of the players fans were excited to see in the Red & White shirt was William Saliba, who partnered with Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

The Gunners ran out 2-0 winners courtesy of goals from new signing Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka, but Saliba also had an impressive outing. The French defender helped Arsenal keep a clean sheet and generally put in a pleasing display.

Despite plenty of factors pointing toward Saliba spending the upcoming season with Arsenal, there are still lingering questions about his long-term future. Miguel Delaney of The Independent ran an article suggesting the Frenchman could ask the Gunners to sanction a permanent move if he is not guaranteed first-team football.

While there were no quotes to corroborate the claim, there has been plenty of interest from clubs like Marseille and Atletico Madrid. However, Arteta has already cleared the air by insisting the defender will stay put for the coming season, although he stopped short of ‘guaranteeing’ anything regarding the playing time Saliba might get in his most recent interview.

Arteta went on to outline his plans for Saliba, insisting he was impressed by the defender from his loan spell last season. However, his quotes on football.london suggest the Arsenal manager is not going to guarantee any specific playing time to any of his players, including Saliba.

Arteta said, “We cannot guarantee first-team football to anybody in this team – you can ask that question to anybody. What we guarantee is that the ones we really see and think are going to take us to the next level, they’re going to be playing a lot of minutes.”

“He’s [Saliba] a proper talent and he’s shown in the last year what can do. But in football it’s about what you do the next day – what everybody did three months ago or a month ago, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about what you do tomorrow and he’s going to have the chance to play.”

After Arteta, Saliba himself clarified his plans for the upcoming season while on holiday. The defender pledged to fight for his place under the Arsenal manager and confirmed his intention to stay at the club. Despite the Frenchman adding to an impressive central defensive stable, the Gunners are still linked with a new player in the position.

As things stand, Saliba will have to compete with Gabriel, Ben White, and Rob Holding for a place in the Arsenal starting lineup. However, with the five-subs rule set to re-activate next season and plenty of games scheduled in the UEFA Europa League, the Frenchman is expected to play regularly under Arteta.

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