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Per Mertesacker urges Arsenal to give returning loan star a chance

Josh Kroenke, Per Mertesacker, Arsenal
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The club’s academy director gave his thoughts on the returning William Saliba.

Per Mertesacker thinks the time is right for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to give William Saliba a chance to impress.

The 21-year-old defender returned to his parent club on Monday after a season out on loan at Marseille. He won Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year in France and helped the Phocaeans qualify for the Champions League with a second-place finish.

It was the third time Saliba had been out on loan since he joined Arsenal in 2019 for €30 million. The Frenchman is still waiting to make a competitive appearance for the first team.

‘Why not use him?’

But Saliba appears set to stay in north London for the new campaign, leaving Mertesacker hopeful of first-team opportunities.

“What William has done in Marseille is magnificent. So for us to really test him this summer and see what’s best for him,” the Gunners academy director told HaytersTV.

“But he has clearly made his mark at his young age with his playing in a major league in Europe and been one of the best players in Europe.

“So why not use him?”

Saliba has two years left on his Arsenal contract, but his agent, Niang Djibril, has hinted talks over an extension with the London club are underway.