Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli has confirmed he wants William Saliba back next season, but Arsenal are now planning for him to be part of their squad.

Marseille's French defender William Saliba looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League match between Basel and Marseille (OM) at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, northern Switzerland, on March 17, 2022. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Marseille’s French defender William Saliba looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League match between Basel and Marseille (OM) at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, northern Switzerland, on March 17, 2022. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

After spending the season working with William Saliba, Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli is clearly keen to keep the defender around.

“In relation to his situation at the club, I hope that there is a possibility for us to retain a player like him, who knows the team,” Sampaoli said.

“But I don’t know if it depends on OM, William, or Arsenal, I don’t know the possibilities in this case.”

Unfortunately for Sampaoli, and fortunately for Arsenal fans, it seems the club aren’t planning to let Saliba go back to France next season.

La Provence (via Sport Witness) report that Arsenal are now planning for next season with Saliba in the team. They’re counting on his presence in their squad, and he’s still under contract for another couple of seasons.

The French outlet do confirm that Marseille, Atletico Madrid, and Napoli are all in the mix if they sense an opportunity to sign the centre-back. But talks with Arsenal aren’t expected to be easy.

Marseille would effectively be relying on Saliba to force a move, and they hope that it could help if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Marseille's French defender William Saliba (L) fights for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe during the French L1 football match between Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) and Olympique Marseille (OM) at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on April 17, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Marseille’s French defender William Saliba (L) fights for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe during the French L1 football match between Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) and Olympique Marseille (OM) at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on April 17, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Marseille will almost certainly be in the Champions League, as they sit second in the Ligue 1 table with just two games remaining. As long as they make the top three, they’ll at least make it to the qualifying round.

It’s still mathematically possible for them to miss out, just not likely. So that’s one thing they could have over Arsenal if things go wrong for the Gunners this week.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.