'Accept being on the bench' - Former Arsenal defender sends warning to William Saliba

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: William Saliba of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Meadow Park on October 30, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)


Ex-Arsenal defender William Gallas has fired something of a warning message to William Saliba, ahead of the Frenchman's return to north London this summer.

Highly-regarded youngster Saliba, of course, is currently in the midst of a third loan stint away from the Emirates.

After failing to work his way into the first-team plans of Mikel Arteta ahead of the campaign getting underway, the 21-year-old secured a return to his home country with Olympique Marseille.

And to say that Saliba has since gone on to impress would be something of an understatement.

The former Saint-Etienne talent has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet of boss Jorge Sampaoli, en route to starts in all but one of Marseille's Ligue 1 outings across the campaign to date.

In fact, so standout has Saliba looked, that his displays even culminated in a first pair of senior caps for France late last month.

Chatter, in turn, has long begun to spread amongst the Arsenal fanbase, regarding what exactly is likely to be in store for the club's up-and-coming defender in the 2022/23 campaign.

One individual, though, who has this weekend fired a warning shot to Saliba regarding his prospects back in the English capital, as alluded to above, comes in the form of William Gallas.

Speaking in an interview with Goal, the one-time Arsenal defender revealed his take that, upon arrival back in Mikel Arteta's squad, his fellow countryman may need to face up to, at least initially, a spot on the bench.

This of course comes with Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes having established themselves as the undisputed first-choice central defensive pairing at the Emirates.

"I think they didn't give him the opportunities at Arsenal, and I don't know why," Gallas began. "That's why he moved on loan to Marseille.

"He is doing a good job, that is why they called him into the national team because he has had a great season with Marseille. If he comes back to Arsenal, he has to be ready to go back and maybe be on the bench at the beginning because at the moment you have got Ben White and Gabriel.

"He has to be ready to accept being on the bench. Mikel Arteta, if he plays with a different system, with three at the back, then he could play with Saliba. He has to understand this and be ready, otherwise don't come back to Arsenal because it will be difficult."


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Conor Laird

Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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