Arsenal defender William Saliba has revealed that he “pushed” for a move to Marseille even though his club “preferred” him to stay in England.
The Gunners spent around £27m to sign the defender from French outfit Saint-Ettiene in 2019.
The 20-year-old is yet to make his senior debut for the Londoners. He has had loan spells at Saint-Ettiene and Nice in recent years.
Ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, Saliba has joined Ligue 1 outfit Marseille on a season-long loan.
The central defender has told La Provence (as cited by Sport Witness) that Arsenal wanted him to stay in England:
“I had a chat with Pablo, with the manager. I knew that’s where I was going to play this season, with a stadium on fire and fans who expect a lot. For a young 20-year-old player, it can only do me good.
“I’m the one who chose Marseille. Arsenal preferred that I go to England, but I knew that here was the right choice. I pushed and pushed for it. Marseille is one of the best clubs in France, with a lot of fervour in the city and the country. You need to wet the shirt when you’re here”.
“Arsenal are signing some good young players now, the transfers they’ve brought in, Ben White’s one of them.
“It will be interesting to see how they start the season. He’s going to be under pressure.
“For me Arteta is going to be under pressure at the start of the season because they’ve spent money now.
“He got away with it last season because of the FA Cup heroics [the season before], so they went wow, we won a trophy so you have to give him time.
“They have to start the season really well because they can’t finish eighth again – it’s Arsenal for christ’s sake.
“They need to go on and do something this season. They’ve got a good, young side so if they don’t start well he’s going to feel the pressure.”