Arsenal loanee William Saliba has confirmed he wants to stay at Marseille rather than return to the Emirates this summer.
The France international has spent the 2021-22 campaign on loan at Marseille but was due to return to north London at the end of the season.
However, Saliba says he wants to extend his spell at Marseille after helping the Ligue 1 side qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Marseille were in a battle with Monaco to finish second in Ligue 1 and secure a place in Europe’s top competition, and thrashed Strasbourg 4-0 on the final day to finish runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking after Marseille’s emphatic win on Saturday, Saliba said: ‘I want to come back and play the Champions League. I have never played in it and I want to discover it here.’
Arsenal spent £27m to sign Saliba from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 but the then-teenager was immediately sent back to his boyhood club on loan.
Saliba was handed the number 4 shirt when he returned to Arsenal the following summer but Mikel Arteta left him out of the club’s competitive squads for the 2020-21 season before sending him out on another loan in January.
The 21-year-old was at Nice last season and Marseille this term and now looks set to secure a permanent move away from the Emirates.
Last week, Saliba was named Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year and was included in Didier Deschamps’ latest France squad, having made two appearances for his country earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi – also on loan at Marseille – wants Saliba to remain at the club next season.
‘I hope William stays here. He’s having a great season, he deserves everything that has happened to him,’ Guendouzi said. ‘He’s a great guy and he’s had a lot of great games.’
Arsenal end the season with a home match against Frank Lampard’s Everton on Sunday but the Gunners look set to miss out on a top-four finish and Champions League football.