Mikael Silvestre explains why Arsenal should not keep William Saliba

William Saliba

Saliba has played 33 matches for Marseille this season (Photo: Getty)

Mikael Silvestre has advised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is sending William Saliba back on loan next season as he is not ready to play at the highest level.

Saliba, 21, was signed by the Gunners from St Etienne back in 2019, but he has yet to play a match for the club, after spending most of his time on loan at France.

Last summer, the central defender joined Marseille in the current campaign and has been a cornerstone of the Ligue 1 team’s defense this season with 33 appearances, putting the Frenchman in the frame for a place in Arteta’s squad next season.

Silvestre, who had a stint at the Emirates between 2008 and 2010, however, believes Saliba still needs further improvements and will not develop if he sits on the Arsenal bench.

In a speech to Genting Casino, he said: ‘If you look at Gabriel and Ben White, I think it should be the partnership for next season. If Saliba comes in, he will be a back-up.

‘He’s still young and I would be tempted to give him another year on loan so he can be even more consistent. He has improved on this loan, but there have been some struggles where he was not at his best level.

William Saliba and Mikel Arteta

Arteta has not been convinced by Saliba during his time at the club (Photo: Getty)

– To develop and become a big part of Arsenal for the future, if you put him on the bench after playing an entire season for Marseille, it would be a step backwards in his development. They have to make a big decision about his future. ‘

It is likely that Saliba would be number four in the rankings behind Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding if he were to stay at Arsenal next season.

Last year, Saliba revealed his frustrations at not being able to break through to the first team squad at Arsenal and has recently been linked with Atletico Madrid.

Earlier this month, Arteta acknowledged that Saliba performed well in France, where the young player had played a significant role in Marseille’s race to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League this season.

He said: ‘Well, first of all, we made the decision together that he should be borrowed. And now he gets those chances in a really competitive league and he does it really well. ‘

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