Arsenal are planning to keep William Saliba and extend his contract this summer as Mikel Arteta calls him the ‘future’ of the club.

Marseille's French defender William Saliba (C) runs with the ball during the French L1 football match between Olympique Marseille (OM) and Lyon (OL) at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, southern France, on May 1, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Marseille’s French defender William Saliba (C) runs with the ball during the French L1 football match between Olympique Marseille (OM) and Lyon (OL) at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, southern France, on May 1, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

L’Equipe (via GFFN) report that Arsenal plan to keep William Saliba this summer and extend his contract. That would fit with comments Mikel Arteta gave to RMC recently when asked about the defender.

Describing Saliba as  the ‘present and future’ of Arsenal, Arteta added, “He has to come back. He has the experience and the environment to be competitive with us.”

Atletico Madrid, Leicester City, Napoli, and Newcastle United have all made enquiries for the player, but the Gunners are keen to keep him.

Saliba still has a couple of years left on his Arsenal contract, and he knows this is a big moment for him with the World Cup coming up this winter. So he’s likely to take his time to consider his options.

Arsenal’s reported stance seems to be backed up by Mikel Arteta’s recent quotes on the subject, speaking to RMC Sport.

“He has to come back,” Arteta said. “He has the experience and the necessary environment to be competitive with us.

“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the game time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure.

“In terms of his growth and what he could do next year, it wouldn’t have been good. William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time required to gain experience. That’s it, nothing else.”

Marseille's Spanish defender Pol Lirola (L) and Marseille's French defender William Saliba react during the French L1 football match between Olympique Marseille (OM) and Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, southern France, on May 1, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Marseille’s Spanish defender Pol Lirola (L) and Marseille’s French defender William Saliba react during the French L1 football match between Olympique Marseille (OM) and Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, southern France, on May 1, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

If it’s true that Saliba’s loan spell was entirely planned for the good of his long-term Arsenal career, then it could be a small price for the club to pay.

A France international and Young Player of the Year award winner coming off the back of a 51-game season with a top-two club in Ligue 1 at just 21 years old, Saliba’s future gives us plenty to be excited about.

Arteta now needs to back up his words with actions, giving Saliba consistent chances on the pitch.

If that doesn’t happen, you’d imagine the defender won’t be keen to renew his deal, and he’ll have to be sold next summer at the latest.

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