Matteo Guendouzi: I'll push for William Saliba to stay at Marseille next season rather than return to Arsenal
Matteo Guendouzi is on his way out of Arsenal, and he is trying to take William Saliba with him to Marseille. Saliba is expected to return to North London for pre-season following the completion of his loan campaign in the South of France - even publicly revealing as much - but Guendouzi says he will be speaking to the 21-year-old to try and influence his decision.
Mattéo Guendouzi sous le maillot de l'OM à Lens, le 22 janvier 2022.
Matteo Guendouzi has risked the ire of Arsenal fans by claiming that he will try and keep William Saliba at Marseille next season.
The France pair both spent last term in the South of France on loan from the Gunners, and they were both influential in Marseille putting together a strong campaign to finish second in Ligue 1.
Being out of contract, Guendouzi was always likely to leave Arsenal this summer - his move has now been confirmed - but Saliba is a different case, with the highly-rated 21-year-old centre-back expected to come back into the fold at the Emirates.
He said: "I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left.
"I will be back with Arsenal [for pre-season]. I have played no matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.
"But it doesn’t just depend on me. In any case, to leave like this, would be a shame."
That's not to say, however, that Saliba particularly wants to leave Marseille, where he impressed in making 36 appearances in all competitions in 2021/22.
MARCH 20: Dimitri Payet, Matteo Guendouzi, William Saliba, Arkadiusz Milik of Marseille celebrate the victory following the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and OGC Nice (OGCN) at Stade Velodrome on March 20, 2022 in Marseille.
Image credit: Getty Images
"Surprising or magical," was the one word Saliba chose to sum up his campaign just gone.
"It’s my first full season. I was keen to show who I really am. It’s a very positive assessment and really I’m very happy with my season.
"It’s as if I'd been here at least two or three years, it’s really special.
"Even if I don’t come back to Marseille, I’ll never forget. Thanks to OM, I spent a great season in my career and it was they who boosted me."
Guendouzi was similarly effusive in his praise for the environment under Jorge Sampaoli, who he will again work under next term after Arsenal and Marseille agreed a fee for his services.
"I couldn’t have hoped for a better season than the one that I spent with Marseille," Guendouzi said.
"With the French national team as well, it is quite simply my best season as a professional."