Jorge Sampaoli wants on-loan Arsenal defender William Saliba to stay at Marseille next season – but the manager of Ligue 1’s second-placed side does not know who will make the final decision about the France international’s future.
Saliba has helped Marseille into pole position for Champions League qualification behind runaway champions Paris Saint-Germain, featuring in all but one league match ahead of their final two games of the top-flight season.
The 21-year-old is yet to make his Arsenal debut and will face a battle to dislodge Ben White and Gabriel in Gunners manager Mikel Arteta’s defensive plans.
Sampaoli told Get French Football News: ‘William’s progress is linked to his development this season and the maturity he now has and his playing time.
‘He is now consistent, he’s grown up as a player. In relation to his situation at the club, I hope that there is a possibility for us to retain a player like him, who knows the team.
‘But I don’t know if it depends on OM, William or Arsenal. I don’t know the possibilities in this case.’
Former Saint-Etienne prospect Saliba, who joined Arsenal for £27million in the summer of 2019, has said he is open to speaking to his parent club about his future and potentially staying at Marseille.
Marseille have conceded an average of a goal a game in Ligue 1, equalling PSG and third-placed Monaco’s defensive record.
Saliba’s success with the Europa Conference League semi-finalists saw him called up by France for the first time, making his first two senior international appearances in friendlies against the Ivory Coast and South Africa in March.
Dethroned Spanish champions Atletico Madrid are among the clubs reportedly interested in Saliba.
Speaking to Le Parisien in April, Saliba said: ‘There is always a chance. I do not hide that I am very happy in Marseille.
‘I have developed, I have passed a milestone. If I make it into France’s squad, it’s thanks to Marseille, because there is a lot of visibility.
‘They are a very big club with a lot of pressure, but when you’re good there are a lot of good things that happen to you.
‘We will see in May or June depending on the discussions. Today, my future – I don’t know what it is.’