MIKEL ARTETA has opened the door for William Saliba to return to Arsenal next season.
The defender joined the Gunners from St Etienne for £27m in 2019, but has yet to play a game for the club.
Saliba, 20, spent the 2019-20 season again at Le Verts on loan, before being frozen in north London by Arteta during the first half of last season.
He was loaned to Nice in January 2021, before joining Marseille for this campaign.
Saliba was so upset about his treatment by Arsenal that he even wondered if he was considered an Arsenal player last year.
But there may be hope on the horizon for the youngster, after his stellar performances recently against Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar and their partners.
Arsenal president Arteta confirmed that he watched the match, and that coach Edu was present.
Asked if he had spoken to Saliba since his confrontation with Paris Saint-Germain, the Spaniard said: “Yes, as a club, we are always in contact.
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“Edo and Ben (Knaber) were there to watch him and keep a close eye on his progress.
“Obviously he’s our player and we do that with all our loan players.”
Arteta was then questioned if Saliba would start against Leeds in the middle of the week before being put on the bench for tomorrow’s trip to Leicester, had he not been loaned out.
Head Gunners replied: “So, but it’s not.
“At the moment he is there and he played a different game this week.
He is our player and that will happen of course. We’ll have to sit down and decide the best next step
“He continues to do what he needs to do which is play a lot of games and play well.”
Asked if Saliba could anticipate a battle to reach the first team next season, Arteta added: “This is a decision we will make next summer.
“He is our player and of course that will happen. We will have to sit down and decide what is the best next step.”
Saliba played 12 games for Marseille this season, while his team finished fourth in the French League.
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