Mikel Arteta says he wants William Saliba back at Arsenal next season after the 21 year old completed a successful loan season with Marseille.

The Gunners boss says the club made the ‘right decision’ to loan him out to the Ligue 1 side, as they wanted him to get the necessary playing time for his development, something which would have been a struggle in a season without European football.

Speaking to RMC Sport today, Arteta said, “He has to come back. He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us.

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

“For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn’t have been good.

“William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time to gain experience.

“That’s it, there’s nothing else.”

It sounds pretty definitive, and with the need for more quality and depth next season, there’s clearly a place in the squad for the Frenchman.

The issue of his contract still lingers though, with just two years left on his deal after his 2019 £28.5m move from Saint-Etienne as a raw 18 year old, there may be some pressure to agree new terms.

However, it’s not imperative, and those fans who have been waiting some time to see Big Willy in an Arsenal shirt may well get their wish next season.

William Saliba’s successful loan

Appearances: 51 (36 Ligue 1, 6 Europa League, 6 Conference League, 3 Coupe de France).

Discipline: 7 yellow cards

Awards: Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year

Amazing last ditch tackles on Kylian Mbappe: 1