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William Saliba explains ‘very big turning point’ in his career

William Saliba explains ‘very big turning point’ in his career
William Saliba explains ‘very big turning point’ in his career

In a candid interview with L’Equipe, Arsenal defender William Saliba revealed that his loan spell at Marseille in the 2021-2022 season was a pivotal moment in his career.

The 23-year-old French international, who was recently selected for the upcoming Euros, acknowledged the significance of his time at Marseille in his development.

Marseille's French defender William Saliba looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League match between Basel and Marseille (OM) at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, northern Switzerland, on March 17, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Marseille’s French defender William Saliba looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League match between Basel and Marseille (OM) at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, northern Switzerland, on March 17, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

“The year at Marseille represents a very big turning point in my career,” Saliba told L’Equipe. He explained that despite being purchased by Arsenal for €30 million in 2019, he initially struggled to break into the first team and was relegated to playing with the U23s.

“I started early at Saint-Étienne (at 17), people believed in me,” Saliba said. “Sometimes when there are difficulties, you tend to lower your head. When Arsenal buys you for €30 million and you play with the U23s, it obviously slaps you in the face.”

However, Saliba persevered and accepted a loan move to Nice in 2021. His subsequent loan to Marseille proved to be a breakthrough, as he helped the team secure a second-place finish in Ligue 1 and earned his first call-up to the French national team.

“But I didn’t give up,” he continued. “I agreed to come to Nice (on loan in 2021). The year in Marseille (2021-2022) represents a very big turning point in my career.

William Saliba press conference
William Saliba press conference

“We finished second and that’s where people knew me and where I arrived in the French team,” Saliba said. “I was good from the first matches. I loved the club and I think we could have come away with a title this season. I had a great connection with the public. Thanks to this season, I came back strong with Arsenal.”