Mikel Arteta speaks on William Saliba’s progress and contract plans

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is delighted with the progress made by William Saliba and acknowledged that the club have plans of extending his contract.

The Frenchman has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Gunners since joining from Saint-Etienne in 2019, but the long wait could end next season.

After three separate loan spells, the most recent at Marseille, Arteta said that the 21-year-old has matured and the club are delighted to have him with them.

Saliba’s current deal expires in June 2024, and Arteta has admitted that the club have plans to prolong his stay.

He told Arsenal.com: “We always have a plan and when we have to execute it, that’s a different story and football is a really funny game.”

“We are really happy to have him and you can see the way he’s adapted, the way he’s matured and he’s playing well and we are delighted to have him.”

Saliba was not deemed ready to make the first-team cut last summer, and he ended up having a superb loan stint with Marseille in the French Ligue 1.

The centre-back was one of their most consistent performers en route to a second-place finish, and was named Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year.

He has also gone on to represent France on five occasions, and now has the opportunity to stake claim for a regular starting role with the Gunners.

Of course, he won’t have it easy with Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes being the regular starters, but there should be a lot of rotation next term.

With the World Cup scheduled during the festive period, the Gunners could be playing a staggering 10 games in October and possibly nine in April.

The £27 million-rated star is expected to get opportunities owing to that. The onus is on him to produce top-class performances to establish himself.

Arsenal’s first priority should be to extend his deal expiring in two years, but regardless of what happens, they are likely to keep him for next season.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

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